The newspapers are reporting today how our health-care system could easily become quickly overwhelmed should virus cases soar. In particular, the NZ Herald is shocking people with the headline, "Up to 1000 operations a week are being cancelled or postponed to allow hospitals to plan for a surge in Covid admissions".
Six years ago, I wrote several articles about how to reform our health system, together with a former Finance Minister, to avoid this situation. The center-piece was diverting $10 billion per annum of "corporate welfare" & transfers to high income families into health savings accounts that would transform the system, particularly for low earners. Why put public money into the Kiwi-Saver accounts of millionaires, as is presently being done, ahead of saving lives?
Well, a National Party Minister at the time laughed off the proposals. A prominent Labor Party Minister, now in power, gave a cursory read & was dismissive. So the "inside story" is that the Nats wanted to put looking after business interests which were benefiting from the likes of the "Callaghan Fund" ahead of the health-care of Kiwis. Meanwhile, at the same time, Labour wanted to put looking after its chosen groups, like left-leaning university students from wealthy families who are state-subsidized, ahead of health-care. As a consequence, neither of our major parties supported this kind of health reform.
One of our articles was called, "Mandatory Savings: The Saviour of NZ's Welfare State". Ironically, the country's focus right now, years later, and also in relation to health-care, is on the question of whether to make some things mandatory.