A near tragedy revealed to me why calls for healthcare reform will always fall on deaf ears.
My daughter ate a pistachio crumb last week. For most people that is about as uneventful as it can get. But for her it caused a near death experience. She is, of course, allergic to them.
There is no word I can think of in the English language to describe the feeling of watching your child suffocating through the rear-view mirror as you speed to the hospital. Hearing her wheezes and coughs as you silently scream at the cars in front of you to drive faster. It is something akin to existential dread.
But there is a word to describe the feeling that comes over a father when he sees his child brought back from the brink by a team of angels clad in blue scrubs. Thankful.
I felt a strong visceral appreciation of the doctors, the nurses, and the hospital.
Suddenly The Australian headline “Medicare rethink needed” gave me pause for thought. And for just a moment I truly understood why any argument that Australia’s healthcare system is broken will fall on deaf ears to some.
Medicare is tied emotionally to many Australians. Any attempt to change it will be taken personally. Arguing dollars and cents with regards to healthcare will always mean nothing when compared the life of a loved one .
The effectiveness of Labor’s ‘Mediscare’ campaign at the last federal election is testament to this. People could not have been so easily taken in by unsubstantiated claims that the Liberals were planning to slash public health if there was not an emotional connection to the institution.
Health care in Australia needs serious reform. But perhaps it would be better to pick other battles first.