Cumberland Times-News


July 6, 2014

Australians glad to have government health care

 I am sure you are familiar with statements like these: “Government- sponsored health insurance is nothing but a socialist takeover. The freedom of citizens is at stake.” “It promises nothing but higher taxes and lower standards.”

Aussies shake their heads when they hear the negative rhetoric around universal health care in the United States. It is obvious to us that our health care system, Medicare, works well, protects all Australians, and has not endangered our liberty. But the quotes above are not from the Obamacare furor. They are taken from Australian public debate in the early
1970s when the Australian government first proposed Medibank — which became today’s Medicare.

Feeling was so strong that “Freedom funds” were established by the Australian Medial Association. Doctors’ clinics were used as campaign centers to display posters and distribute leaflets and car bumper stickers to patients in an effort to turn them against Medibank.

The General Practitioners Society distributed a letter that read, in part: “The control of our country
has fallen into the hands of socialists ... The fight that the GPS is spearheading is basically a fight for freedom — not just freedom for doctors — but freedom for you, for your children and for all people in the country.”

As an Australian I find this quaint and laughable now. An overwhelming percentage of Australians are happy with the system — including doctors. It is not perfect and tweaks have been and will continue to be made, but everyone now takes it as a staple of Australian life. Medicare provides free hospital services for public patients in public hospitals, subsidizes private patients for hospital
services and provides benefits for consultations with GPs or specialists at an average of 80 percent of the fee. Australians pay a Medicare levy, which is currently set at 1.5 percent of taxable income.

When I was a young child, however, there was no Medibank or Medicare. My family could not afford medical care except in case of dire need. A visit to the doctor was debated long and hard, and my father tried to “treat” us as well as he could. A deep and long gash on my arm from a broken bottle? Not stiches, but Elastoplast to hold the edges together. Result: a permanent wide scar. That scar is completely
unimportant, but the damage to my ankle from an accident at the age of 6 that was not treated as it should have been may now necessitate an operation to fuse it.

That was the worst that happened to me before we were able to go to the doctor when we needed to. Now no Australian has to fear the cost of illness. The American atrocity of families being bankrupted because of serious illness is unimaginable to us. And we did not become communists. Or even socialists!

My blog about life in America is at

Dr. Nayano Taylor-Neumann Cumberland

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  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Legion honor guard available to honor veterans at their funerals

    We in the honor guard of Fort Cumberland Post 13, American Legion, performed 196 veterans service in 2013.

    July 22, 2014

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Remember, we’re not immune to extinction

    I’d like to pose a theoretical scenario to Cal Thomas.

    If a medical specialist said, “Cal, you’ve got a serious physical problem. Do nothing and you’ll die soon. Follow my prescription, which involves certain life-style changes, and there’s a good probability you’ll live, even if your life may be a bit more constrained than now.”

    July 21, 2014

  • America has three branches of government for good reasons

    “Mikulski Calls for Continued Action to Protect Women's Health Following Dangerous Supreme Court Decision” is the heading you will find on Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s website.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tell legislators to do what is right for America’s vets

    Without our veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, where would America be today? It is anyone’s guess, however certainly not the Freedom and Liberty we enjoy.

    July 18, 2014

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Move over Move over

    Have you noticed, in your travels, that the front end of a police cruiser usually protrudes a bit more than you would expect when the officer has it parked behind another vehicle on the side of the road?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Use local workers in building new Baltimore Pike travel stop

    As a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly representing Allegany County, and specifically the City of Cumberland, I welcome you to our community as you prepare to construct a Love’s Travel Stop at the above referenced location (on Baltimore Pike).

    July 17, 2014

  • Northern Garrett Rescue Squad raising funds, seeks members

    The Northern Garrett County Rescue Squad recently conducted several fund raising events to raise funds for new Lifepak 15’s, which are EKG monitors with AED / defibrillator.

    July 16, 2014