LET­TERS

Finweek English Edition - - Opinions Disguised As Facts - Dr AM Levin Wil­helm P Loock

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.

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