Free market the best medicine The concept of a free market is tangible and extremely important. It was the misuse – and abuse by governments – of the free market that led to the current financial dilemma worldwide. That was compounded by the greed of certain executive directors of some of the banks who “removed” large volumes of money in the hallowed name of bonuses.
The free market system has been proven by international economists, many being Nobel prize-winners, not only to be viable but essential for containing costs of business endeavours while ensuring a high standard of client/supplier relationships.
With a basic understanding of the free market it becomes easier to appreciate the need to allow private healthcare to function using those principles that would ensure lower medical costs as a result of competition, as well as a concomitant improvement in the standards of healthcare. The most recent acceptance of this free market concept is Singapore’s new healthcare policy, which is now based on free market principles with the exclusion of government interference by means of socialist controls and regulations.
The current medical aid concept in SA is Government prompted, Government controlled and regulated but has been a total failure, as evidenced by a lack of an increase in membership as well as a reduction in the medical benefits for patients. However, despite that patient subscriptions have increased.
To add to that obsession of control, medical aids have coerced medical practitioners to become designated service providers, on the premise that they’ll receive full payment for treating “prescribed minimum benefits”. Failure to join the “club” will result in only proportional reimbursement to the doctor, with the patient now being obliged to co-pay for the services rendered. The latter exercise merely increases the cost of the patient’s healthcare financing.
To complete the picture of healthcare in SA, it’s vital to realise the public medical sector is totally – and exclusively – the responsibility of Government and that private healthcare doesn’t, and cannot, influence the success of that section of medical attention. Rather, private healthcare has “taken over” the responsibility of providing medical treatment for 18% of the population, thus helping Government to hopefully achieve its constitutional obligation of providing medical facilities for all citizens of this country, irrespective of their financial status.
The current socialist ideology of a national health insurance, if it’s to be implemented, must only apply to the public medical sector. It can have nothing to do with the private medical enterprise, whereby patients are able to afford the costs of private healthcare.
Private house ownership, private car ownership, private legal services have no bearing on Government’s responsibility for RDP housing, for public transport and for legal aid facilities for the majority of the population sadly unable to afford the niceties of financial security and, therefore, the purchase of highly desirable homes and flashy luxury cars. The principle of all private enterprises – including that of private healthcare – must be based on the free market system and must be totally divorced from Government’s constitutional responsibilities and their election manifesto.
As with any illness, the correct application of the appropriate medication will lead to the ultimate success of wellness. The free market is the medicine that will ensure success and satisfaction in all private business endeavours. Misuse of the fundamental concept of a free market doesn’t violate the integrity of that principle. Seniors important to the bank? The letter by Keith McIvor headlined “Seniors important to Absa” (16 October) refers. His letter prompted me to contact Standard Bank concerning benefits to seniors aged 55 years and over. I sent them an email via the secure mail facility on their Internet Banking site.
A consultant phoned me and said she would give my phone number to another consultant, who would phone me about their Consolidated account. To date, no such phone call has been received.
And when I checked my account on the Internet, it stated the account is for the aged – 60 and over, to be precise. So no benefits at Standard Bank for 55 years or over. Well done, Absa. I’m a woman and therefore sensitive about my age. Your two correspondents – Dr Firoz Osman and Uzair Mohsin (Letters, 28 August) – have certain opinions disguised as facts about the state of belligerency between Israel and its surrounding Arab states.
Ignorance may play a role here, in which case may I enlighten your readers with unslanted facts. 1.N ationhood and Jerusalem: Israel became a nation in 1312 BCE, 2 000 years before the rise of Islam. 2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern state of Israel. 3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BCE the Jews have had dominion over the land for 1 000 years, with a continuous presence for the past 3 300 years. 4. The only Arab dominion since the con-
quest in 635 BCE lasted only 22 years. 5. For more than 3 300 years Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders didn’t come to visit. 6. Jerusalem is mentioned more than 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish holy scriptures, and not once in the Koran. 7. King David founded Jerusalem. Moham-
med never came to Jerusalem. 8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. With Mecca and Medina as their focus, Muslims often pray with their backs towards Jerusalem. 9. Arab and Jewish refugees: In 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews; 68% left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier. 10. The Jewish refugees were forced to flee Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms. 11. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated at 630 000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same. 12.Arab refugees were intentionally not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100m refugees since the Second World War theirs is the only refugee group in the world that’s never been absorbed or integrated into their own people’s lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel.