ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation for overseas readers) programme which has apparently caused people to cease taking their cholesterol medication. I also have my own views - and this would not be the proper place to air them.
I do think that the ABC was out of order, completely out of order, if the reports I received from people I trust were correct. The programme, according to them - as well as reports in the other media, failed to present a balanced range of views on the topic.
It does not surprise me. It is a topic with a wide range of opinions but the ABC is not given to airing a wide range of opinions. It prefers opinions of convenience.
But it also raised another issue of concern in this Downunder household. The Senior Cat and I discussed it yet again over the meal table.
It is the issue of the "extras" provided by private health insurance.
Yesterday friends reminded us that private health insurance does not cover the "emergency fee" at a private hospital - although several private hospitals have emergency departments. There is a hefty up-front fee before someone will even be treated. The thing to do is demand the ambulance heads for a public hospital - if you are in a fit state to demand anything. Your "extras" cover does not cover you unless you are heading for a public hospital.
We have "extras" cover because it supposedly does cover ambulance - and yes, it covers ambulance transport between one hospital and another - and dentistry. We might need an ambulance and we do need the dentistry cover. The Senior Cat has used the Optical cover and that has definitely been a good thing because it picked up signs of glaucoma which have been successfully treated.
But I just looked at the long list of other things that "extras" covers and I know we will never use most of them. We won't use Pilates, Naturopathy or Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Chiropractic or Osteopathic - to name just a few.
Like cholesterol medication these things have their supporters and detractors but, unlike cholesterol medication, other members of the health fund are paying to subsidise these for those who wish to use them. It is possible to argue that this is what health funds are all about. But, these are labelled "extras".
I feel we should be able to decide which extras we want to have. I'd go for dentistry, optical, ambulance and perhaps one or two others but I know I will never use Pilates or some of the other things they list and neither will the Senior Cat.
My own view (and yes it is a personal view) is that some of the things covered by "extras" are nonsense. They may do no harm but they also do no good - and some of them may do more harm than good.
We need some balance here. We need balanced information and the right to choose but I know that "extras" are really a means of making money for the health fund. We will need to go on paying for what we don't need in order to get what we do need.