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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2279


Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(8.09) —I assure the honourable senator I take that question very seriously. But in some ways being better off is in the eye of the beholder. For instance, I would consider myself better off under Medicare if I suddenly, catastrophically, had an accident which put me in hospital for a year, or required some sort of procedure which was beyond my ordinary financial capacities to pay and which left me in a state where I was unable even to continue the onerous task of being a senator in this place. I would be reassured that as a result of the introduction of a universal health insurance scheme my capacity to be treated in public hospitals with good facilities would not be restricted by my capacity to pay. I take that very seriously and I think it is a very serious argument for the introduction of a universal insurance scheme. I understand that Senator Walters is taking a much narrower approach than that. She wants to know by how much a week various individuals are better or worse off under Medicare. I will certainly seek to get that information for her.