8 Ways to Rip off the Health System

Gareth MorganHealth, Tax and Welfare

This is a slightly tongue in cheek way of pointing out the faults in the current health system. We included this in the press releases as part of the launch of the Prescription. Enjoy!

“Our health system is a rort” claims commentator Gareth Morgan. “Our healthcare dollar does not go to those who need it and will benefit from it most, instead it goes to those who shout the loudest. That’s not right—everyone should know how to rip off the system so they too can get a fair go”. To help people get their share Gareth has come up with 8 ways to rip off the health system:

  1. Write a letter to the Minister. Ministers like having things to do, otherwise they get bored sitting in their offices all day. So write them a letter, they will jump up and down until you get what you want, and then you will vote for them. That is how democracy works.
  2. Pester the Doctor. Doctors are there to take care of their patients, no matter what the cost. They might have other patients that need treatment more urgently than you, but they should learn that the Lord helps those who help themselves.
  3. Claim it was an injury. You are much better off on ACC than you are at the mercy of the health system. So if you have a sore tooth, try getting into a fight, or playing rugby without a mouthguard.
  4. Call the Papers. The media are always looking for sob stories. It doesn’t matter how expensive the treatment, or how low the chances are it will work, if you are a nice person the media will convince everyone that you should be treated. Politicians will then want to have their photo in the paper with you.
  5. Join Grey Power. Get someone to lobby for you. The health system has only been made into a maze so that you get lost and bored into submission. Lobby groups have a map of the maze and can help you get through. Forget all the other people who have no–one to lobby for them.
  6. Shop around: try another DHB. Different areas offer different operations depending on the doctors that work there. Small provincial hospitals like doing lots of minor operations to keep their doctors and nurses busy. So if you have varicose veins or cataracts, pay a visit to the country. But if you have something serious, head for the big smoke.
  7. Be elderly, white and female. White women live the longest, and get the most resources out of our health system. They’ve worked hard and paid their taxes, so they deserve all the treatment they can get. Never mind the poor brown kids in Porirua who live in third world conditions and have never seen a doctor. They should know better.
  8. Go direct to A&E. Why go to your GP? They cost money to visit. Just wait until your condition gets really bad and go straight to A&E. It’s free and you’ll get all the treatment you need straight away. Besides, everyone likes emergencies. It’s far more interesting than preventing the illness in the first place. Emergencies make everyone feel like they are doing something.

There is a better way. Gareth and his co–author Geoff Simmons have come up with A Prescription for Change: three ideas to make the health system work better and more fairly for all. These three ideas are:

Managing Demand— reducing the pressure for more treatment, particularly where that treatment yields little in the way of health benefits. This is one area where Government policy is currently not focused.

Rational Prioritisation— where should we focus our limited healthcare workforce and budget? The Government is making some changes here by asking the National Health Committee (NHC) to advise on new treatments. This is a step in the right direction, but could go further.

Greater Efficiency of Service Delivery
— we need new ways of delivering healthcare, particularly in provincial areas.

8 Ways to Rip off the Health System was last modified: December 15th, 2015 by Gareth Morgan
About the Author

Gareth Morgan

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Gareth Morgan is a New Zealand economist and commentator on public policy who in previous lives has been in business as an economic consultant, funds manager, and professional company director. He is also a motorcycle adventurer and philanthropist. Gareth and his wife Joanne have a charitable foundation, the Morgan Foundation, which has three main stands of philanthropic endeavour – public interest research, conservation and social investment.