Health gaps for the poor

Written by:

Written by:

My neighbour who lives in the Kainga Ora house next door to me has major health problems.  She has three different conditions that could kill her in one way or another. She is a single mother with three children, two of who have disabilities.

She popped over for a coffee the other day and brought a bill over for $55.  She plays Rugby League when she can and she cracked a couple of leg bones the other weekend.  The gap between what ACC pays for x-rays and and what they cost was, in this instance, $55.

She has also had to go to hospital a few times recently.  She will not call an ambulance, even when it is needed.  St John sends out partial payment bills to people who call an ambulance, and she has a collection of such bills.  The ambulance charges $98 per time.

Then there are the multiple other part charges that come with having a family of people with a lot of health needs. And she absolutely cannot afford to pay these bills.

I really like and admire my neighbour. She is only 33 and has been through more than most people I know, and still soldiers on to make a good and healthy home for her children.  But it is just setback after setback, debt after debt and worry after worry.

We need a national free ambulance service as a priority.  People with community services cards should not have to pay part charges on essential health costs.  Or anything really.  I really admire the Bargain Chemist and other chains that have removed prescription charges by absorbing them.

Amongst all the other poverties in Aotearoa – food poverty, child poverty, housing poverty – health poverty is a real thing and lurks in the most needy households. Now we have a new health service, we need to look at exporting free schemes, like the Wellington Free Ambulance – to other parts of New Zealand.

One Response

  1. Liz, thanks for your interesting blog!

    While I understand the hardship people face over things such as medical treatment etc., I have to disagree with the point of St John Ambulances charging $98 every time. If you know that you will most likely need such a service, why not pay the $55 per annum fee for one person, which would cover you for an entire year? (

    So, if you had ten ambulance visits over one year, this would cost $980. If you subscribe to the plan, you will save $925. Or are people so poor that they can’t afford the fee?

    I would be more concerned about the volunteer fire fighting service. How on earth can we always rely on a service where members may not even be nearby or on holiday? Maybe, our entire emergency services need a restructure.

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About Insight Aotearoa

Most of the blogs published here will either respond to initiatives elsewhere or will be ‘newsmaking’. Some will also be reflective in more general terms. The blogs will be topical and interesting. I like to inject some humour into my blogs.

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