Three visits to my GP had set me back $180. I dropped another $200 on two courses of antibiotics, probiotics, Codral, cough syrups, cough drops, health shop lung elixirs, and an array of strong pain killers after I coughed so hard I injured my ribs (which is a real treat if you can’t stop coughing). The x-ray, thankfully, was being covered by my health insurance, which I pay fortnightly.
So, as I hacked and coughed and wondered why I’d put off that last doctor visit so long when I was clearly getting worse instead of better, my thoughts turned to the kids heading off to university this year, their fees fully funded.
It’s not an entirely illogical leap given this week the Government admitted its pledge to reduce the cost of going to the doctor by $10 by July 1 going to take longer to implement, basically because they don’t have the money.
I didn’t feel too strongly about the free first-year university fees policy until that moment in the x-ray room, but then I felt outraged.
As you should. The Government is spending $1.2 billion a year to give free fees to students who will go on to be the wealthiest in society (on average a graduate earns $1.6 million more than a non graduate).
Why are we helping people who can afford to upskill themselves and who will reap the benefits of upskilling themselves, when we don’t have enough money left over to make sure people can afford to look after themselves?
If a DINKY (double income no kids) household like mine is wincing at the cost – and delaying seeing the doctor – how many people aren’t going at all?
National had a policy to make GP visits cheaper for low and middle income New Zealanders. Labour said it would match it and have it come in on 1 July 2018. They are now indicating they can’t afford it. That is because they spent all the money on free tertiary fees.