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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The culture of Corporate Welfare slowly creeps back

Private hospitals get greater public role
Private hospitals are to be given a greater role in carrying out taxpayer-funded elective surgery under a Government plan to treat more patients. The aim is to get better prices by smoothing the flow of patients and increase the number treated. Private hospitals already do about 6 per cent - around 7000 patients a year - of the elective operations and investigations that are funded by district health boards and say they could do significantly more. In Auckland, nearly 11 per cent of DHBs' elective surgery and investigations such as colonoscopies were done by the private sector in the past financial year. Health Minister Tony Ryall said last night that the Government did not have a target amount of contracting-out. The intention was simply to increase the number of patients seen. Prime Minister John Key said health boards would be allowed to enter long-term contracts with private hospitals for elective surgery, rather than turning to them as a "last resort". He said the previous Labour Government would turn to the private sector only when it was trying to wipe its waiting lists for operations. This meant private hospitals sat dormant, and then once called upon in desperation were able to charge a premium for services. "As a general rule we are not trying to undermine the public sector, we are trying to complement it."

That is exactly what National are trying to do, this policy will see it done. By paying more money to the Private Hospital industry, National are ripping off extra investment into Public Health. Ryall came to Health setting incredibly high expectations that the Public Sector couldn’t meet so that they would fail those expectations and give him the excuse to open the door to corporate medical giants eager to gobble up public money to their shareholders delight. Tapu Misa notes the same bullshit is happening in education with this Government handing over $35 million to their private school chums to keep those rich pricks afloat on public money….

There's been no funding for an increase in student numbers, and the Government has been deaf to pleas from polytechnics and technical institutes to remove the enrolment cap that prevents their taking on more students. It's also signalled a $50 million cut to teacher staffing budgets for public schools from 2010, the equivalent of 700 teachers, according to John Minto of the Quality Public Education Coalition. Meanwhile, private schools, which educate 4 per cent of the country's students - including the PM's children - are being given an extra $35 million to make them "more affordable for parents". Education Minister Anne Tolley trumpets the Government's "commitment to strengthening the ladder of opportunity", while slashing the funding for the adult night classes relied on by some 200,000 people by more than 80 per cent. Bill English, in opposition, had once called them "a leg-up for people wanting to return to the education system", adding, "National supports these low-cost courses. The current system of night classes through schools works well and should not be tampered with".

...I’m not sure handing over public money to private companies, in effect corporate welfare was the ‘change’ NZers were looking for.


At 30/6/09 10:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The power of good ideas trumps all!

At 30/6/09 2:29 pm, Anonymous barvasfiend said...

"This meant private hospitals sat dormant, and then once called upon in desperation were able to charge a premium for services."

This is WHY you pay to go private - because you are paying for the instant availability of the service, and the redundancy in it too. This is a classic case of nationalising debt whilst keeping profit private.

Seems so simple, doesn't it - the public private separation thing and yet somehow so baffling to the government.

At 30/6/09 2:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think that the the National Government is showing little faith in state education or state health?

The extra money for private education is an interesting case.

According to the linked article below, the Treasury argued against increased state funding for private education, while the Ministry of Education advocated such support!


The Ministry of Education said the money to private schools was needed to "save" them. The Treasury said that this approach would not work.

At 30/6/09 5:38 pm, Anonymous dong said...

do the people who use private hospitals and send their kids to private schools not pay tax?

Oh they do?

Then why shouldn't their tax money be feed in to the private health and education systems they use?

Unless you want the thousands of people who currently use private institutions to suddenly start clogging up the public ones even more?

At 30/6/09 10:28 pm, Anonymous bc said...

What Tapu Misa neglects to mention(or perhaps she doesn't realise)is that private schools are becoming integrated so that they get more funding. I don't think she is aware of the difference.

At 1/7/09 8:37 am, Blogger freshairprince said...

When would you rather have Gran's hip operation done? Today or next June at the end of the financial year to clean up a waiting list? It will cost Gran no extra and the operation is guaranteed to happen on the day it is scheduled. Private hospitals are efficient because they have to make money. No teaching and no acute lists to get in the way. Or you could just spout the usual diatribe about 'rich people'.


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