After reading an article in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday about the changes to the medicare rebate on private obstetric fees, (http://www.news.com.au/features/anger-over-cut-to-obstetrics-rebate/story-e6frfl49-1225830156618) I decided to finally put my thoughts into a blog in the hope that it will subside my anger a little.( Apparently it's better to get your anger out in the open)
I must firstly say that i'm not generally a very political person, I don't pretend to know the inner workings of our government, but in this case I really have to ask and want to know WHAT IS OUR GOVERNEMENT THINKING? Not only will our public hospitals be overcrowded and the care jepordised as a result of these changes, but hardworking, tax payers are now being penalised for choosing to have specialised care during pregnancy and the birth of their precious children.
I had my first child almost two years ago at Newcastle Private Hospital. We have always had private health insurance and when I became pregnant, chose to go through a well known local obsteatrician who provided us with excellent advice, care and support during my pregnancy & birth. At the time we paid a lump sum of around $2200 dollars for the doctor's fees and were pleased when we recieved around $1700 back from Medicare. This rebate made it possible for us to afford not only the care and some much needed baby furniture, but we had peace of mind about the care we would be recieving and the support that we would have during our stay at the private hospital. These things were very important to us.
Now pregnant with my second child, and due to some prior medical complications we have chosen to go with the same obsteatrician & hospital for our care. I was upset to find out that we would be recieving only $463 back out of our $2200 this time due to the medicare changes. Had we known about these changes prior to me falling pregnant again, i'm not sure what our choice would have been, however when did it become ok for the governement to essentially choose the way we have our babies and the specialised care we need by putting it financially out of reach for so many people? To be honest I don't think I would be so angry if some of the money was going back to the obsteatrcians, I really believe they earn their money and we are essentially trusting them with bringing our precious ones into the world, however the money is going straight to the Government!
Yes, it is my choice to choose private care, but I pay my taxes, pay into private health fund and work hard so why not! These new changes have put our maternity wards and birthing suites under more pressure than they already are, turning people away from hospitals in Sydney has already been reported and many women now have to worry about whether or not they will even be able to have their baby in a hospital due to the overload of patients. With the Government bringing in the paid maternity leave in 2011, there is an expected baby boom in Australia, how will our hospitals cope then when private care is now unaffordable to so many that would choose to have it?
There is so much more I would love to say about this subject and I may just have to follow up next week with my second instalment, (just to get it all out of my system), but I would love to hear your comments on this topic, whether you agree with me or not.