Raged wrote: sn0wchyld wrote:
In Australia we do not have free gov healthcare, we have socialised healthcare. We all pay for it every time we get paid, or buy anything. And even then, its not 'free' in that regard, as there are numerous expenses not covered by medicare (MRI is a common one). The gov doesn't pay for it, they mandate that we all do.
And as rhino mentioned, by this logic even further intrusions into how individuals run their own lives are thus justified. far more for instance die as a result of over eating, lack of activity and other harmful habits - do you think we should start making laws to fine fat people going to maccas, unfit people from playing too many games, and smokers from smoking, because the gov (read - the people) wear the costs? Because principally there's no difference. There's a number of diseases that are highly heritable. Should we be fining parents for not checking for such diseases? for still having kids despite knowing it?
This also skips over the fact that the introduction of helmet laws had a marginal, if any, impact on fatalities and injuries - rates fell after laws were introduced around 1990, but the rates of cycling also reduced - by approximately the same amount. It may even be that helmet laws have increased the rates of death, due to reduced rates of exercise, particularly among children and teenagers. This would also mean much greater impact on those socialised healthcare costs too, if reducing costs is the primary objective...
https://www.theguardian.com/news/databl ... -australia
https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct= ... ShtEaEcFsw
In any case my point remains that peoples behaviour that only endangers themselves (or presents minimal risk to others, though where that line lies is up for debate) should be largely, or entirely unregulated. People have no choice to participate in our socialised healthcare system, quite the opposite, they will be imprisoned if they dont. I fail to see how that can possibly justify further intrusions into peoples lives in order to 'reduce the cost that its mandated you will pay'.
And just to be abundantly clear, I think wearing a helmet is in 90% of cases (particularly on a ebike) a good idea - this is coming from some one who's had some crashes where wearing one would have actually made things worse. I dont think however that the gov should be enforcing how people are to live their lives 'for your own good', no matter how small the intrusion.
You only pay the medicare levy when you earn over $80,000 ? If you make over $80k/year then you have the option to pay the levy (is it 1% or 1.5%?) or take out personal health insurance to reduce your burden on the public system. It's not a perfect solution, but it's the best that has been brought up to cater for most people considering the average Australian wage is still around $54k and the levy only targets "high earners" to support the less fortunate. I personally dont have an issue paying that levy or for personal health insurance as I've been on the other side and have needed to use it. With the system in place, an Australian citizen will receive the full medical protection regardless of their income/status in life. It's a very very good safety net. Having travelled around the world, I would say it is one of the most fair systems in place.
Imagine a system if you didnt have appropriate insurance or money, you'd just be frocked for life with either a permanent injury (no rehab) or staggering medical bills. That system would just empower the rich and burden the less fortunate. A simple act of falling off your bike and slipping a spine disc would be near terminal in a labouring career. Under medicare, it's mostly covered ( I do understand there's a 3 month waiting period for operations ).
The rates of death/lack of fitness/obesity is not directly correlated to cycling. It's just a manipulation of statistics. 1990s was the golden age of personal computers and you suddenly had a whole generation of youth playing video games etc. People who want to cycle will cycle... those who dont... wont. Correlation is not causation. Look at the kids who would rather spend the weekend on their iphone than go for a bushwalk and you get the idea... Wearing a helmet or not has zero impact on their decisions.
Smokers are getting punished btw. A pack of smokes in Asia is about AUD$2.50... A pack in Australia is about $30 now after the last increase. Government intervention to reduce smokers and the harmful effect it has on the health system which is 100% preventable. Same with alchohol... I was in the US earlier this year where a bottle of Vodka was $18 at the local ABC shop... Same bottle in Australia was $40 due to additional taxes. The government is just using the methods available to them to discourage excessive smoking/drinking.
In regards to wearing a helmet reducing healthcare costs... It may be the difference between a broken arm with concussion vs a broken arm and brain damage.
I do however believe in free choice... However I believe the government "should" try to protect the people as best they can. Whether it is financially driven or not, it is about the quality of life of an individual and reducing the risk and damage an accident can cause.
Apologies for long post - a few points i want to address...
The levy only partially funds the system, the rest is from general taxation. It doesn't particularly matter however, the gov receives revenue from multiple sources and sends it out to multiple sinks. Correct me if im wrong but theres no 'x fund' from which no other gov service can draw from or contribute to... its all a pool of funds that gets distributed as needed/required. Case in point, the medicare levy only funds ~50% of the medicare costs (and about 16% of the total federal healthcare expenditure). It doesn't matter even if it was all funded by the surcharge - its still all from the same 'pool' - the 'rich' funding it simply means the 'non rich' fund something else (as opposed to everyone funding it equally) - the end result is exactly the same... its not free, its socialized, we all pay for it.
PS the levy kicks in at around 22k, not 80k. the 'average' Australian ($60kpa) pays 1200 a year, 1600 for your average full time worker ($80kpa).
https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/medi ... e-earners/
And please note - my objection is to the morality of taxation, not to the benefits that can arise from it - and the subsequent justification for further intrusion on individual freedoms being justified in order to 'reduce the need for such immoral acts'. Its not to say that good cannot come from immoral acts, but that offering a trade-off between immoral acts remains... immoral.
Beyond that I dont believe i said helmet laws were the cause for the reduction in riding - merely that it may have contributed (and the correlation is particularly strong - <50% reduction in just a couple of years doesn't scream 'computers' to me... certainly not solely). My primary point is that they had marginal, if any impact on overall injury and death rates, and as such 'reduction in healthcare costs' appears to be a poor justification for enforcing helmet wearing, both on a moral and financial basis.
Back to our health system - i think you see the altruism and generosity of people to be far short of what it is. Before public healthcare, do you know what happens? doctors wold provide care free of charge to those who genuinely couldn't afford it, and charities or social communities would also contribute. And the interesting thing is this - it still happens today. I myself benefited from it, when getting a heart condition checked (turned out to be benign, thankfully) the doc asked as to my employment status, and when i mentioned i'd just finished uni and was still looking for work, he gave me a considerably reduced rate, as he does with many in such a situation. Socialised healthcare, without the use of force.
And yes i get that there are some sin taxes, and i can appreciate they can help reduce abuse, if only marginally (theres a growing black market for cigarettes now - given the taxes are getting so high that they may as well be illegal, and we all know how well making drugs illegal works for reducing public healthcare burdens...). The point again is that there is a key benefit to riding, and a marginal if any impact for wearing a helmet (at least on average, something that still surprises me). There is no such case with smoking or drinking. Fining people for smoking (by way of a sin tax) may well improve the situation, by off setting costs and reducing uptake of smoking (though the latter point seems somewhat debatable). No such trade off appears for helmets, its just a strait out fee, with no commiserate benefit and multiple potential negative impacts.
"However I believe the government "should" try to protect the people as best they can."
I agree with the sentiment, just not with the scope. I'm happy for gov to advise on the best/safest way (in their view) to go about doing x, but not for them to mandate it (ie a anti smoking campaign with links to where/how people can quit vs fines/taxes/illegality etc, or in this case, advising that helmets are a good idea vs fining you if you dont). They should be there to protect us from others who might infringe on our own rights and freedoms, not to do so themselves, and not to be our nanny.