The public purse

The Australian Immigration Department has rejected a German doctor’s application for citizenship because one of his sons has Down’s Syndrome. The reason given – the boy “did not meet the health requirement,” and the condition would “result in a significant and ongoing cost to the Australian community.” If I remember it correctly, a CNN report on the case referred to the impact the treatment would have on the “public purse.” The father, on his part, says

“They think he is a burden for the Australian community. But we are absolutely able to support him, and I don’t want him to rely on any government pension anyway. He’s well looked after.”

Some people think that the boy is being discriminated against because of his condition. It smacks of Nazism, one letter writer says. The public outrage – a result of political correctness – is guaranteed to reverse the decision, but while it stands, one should note that the Immigration Department is being “pragmatic”. A health care system that is publicly funded (in part or otherwise) has to consider the costs of providing care. The first law of economics – “money does not grow on trees” – applies as much to governments as it does to individuals. And that is what the department argues-

“This is not discrimination. A disability in itself is not grounds for failing the health requirement — it is a question of the cost implications to the community.”

“If we did not have a health requirement, the costs to the community and health system would not be sustainable,”

Most people don’t realize that when they demand that the government do everything from censoring films to providing health care, they have to suffer the consequences of such government interference. If they demand that the government wipe their ass every time they use the loo, the government will soon limit the number of visits to the loo. The solution? Keep the government out of private affairs.

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  • Abhishek  On November 1, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Another similar point I often make to liberals who support publicly funded healthcare is that it encourages passage of anti-smoking, anti- fatty food etc. laws which curp your freedom in order to reduce overall costs.

    (Unfortunately, as some paper pointed out, even this does not work, for the healthier people simply live longer and in the long run spend more of the state’s money on their health)

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