Thursday, March 18, 2010

Online from the bush

Living back of beyond has it’s issues, like power supplies and internet access. Both are now sort of sorted and I can post from a fly spot called Mia Mia in northern Victoria. Being on a wireless modem is great, albeit subject to the power sources I am using. Not being on the grid is fine, but balancing a solar/generator mix is difficult.

It becomes frustrating listening to the ‘news’, and occasionally there is news, and not being able to respond. Two issues of particular note just now are climate change and health care.

Climate Change

“Two of the nation's top research bodies - the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO - have come out strongly in defence of the science behind global warming.

The leading research bodies say the evidence is irrefutable: climate change is real and the link with human activity is beyond doubt.”. ABC

What concerns me is that ‘Blind Freddy’ could attest to climate change. Assigning blame is another issue, which the “irrefutable” aspect of human causality is not being clearly articulated. The trenchant skeptics will continue to deny evidence, but the fence sitters are not being convinced as yet.

It seems logical tome that regardless of cause we must do whatever is needed to mitigate those issues we understand. That means accepting the need for sacrifices, which in turn requires clearly articulating the irrefutable evidence. I’m a believer, but I don’t feel I have the information to even begin to convince doubters.


If Kevin Rudd is going to win backing for health reform in this country he needs to tie his various arguments together in a cogent form. That he is now talking about funding more front line health practitioners, GPs, he has failed to tie that into hospital funding reform. This argument is vital. Hospitals will never be cost efficient unless we have an early detection, and dare I say mitigation regime, in place.

Hospital care is increasingly a challenging economic item. The advances in science and technology are mind blowing, and budget blowing, but too many people end up in hospital with conditions which should have been detected and treated before becoming a crisis. Hospitals are never a great place to be and front line care makes them a last resort.

Of course, without the front line doctors in place there is still a huge gap to fill, even without the mindless incidents putting pressure on basic emergency services. I suspect health issues require focusing resources on a wide range of social issues.

Standing in the way of any real reform is the federal/state divide, or politics. If the states continue to push responsibility to the Feds then they are writing their own obituary. The issues are all politics in the end, and the state parliaments seem to have lost sight of their reason for being. I still oppose centralizing government, if only because I don’t want to see the state corruption placed in more able hands. Surely it is time the corruption went and ‘commomweal’ took its proper place.


D.K. Raed said...

You still seem to get plenty of news, even living back o'beyond!

if your states are trying to push their health responsibilities toward the fed govt, then you seem to have the opposite problem of U.S. Here, no cogent overall national plan is killing us. 50 different sets of rules, incl health insurers that cannot/will not do business across state lines. last week, Utah passed a law that will allow it to "opt out" of any national health care reform. then Idaho passed a law that will allow them to sue the fed govt if Idahoans are mandated to have health ins. you get the drift. hope you guys get it solved down there. give us some hope!

re: climate change ... why try to convince doubters of human involvement? simply point out that since a hallmark of man is ability to control his environment, beginning with fire and the first caves we took shelter in, why wouldn't we now want to do everything in our power to control climate change, regardless of if we are causing it or the earth is simply going through another of its cycles. The alternative is adaptation, but I wouldn't bet on our grandchildren vs the cockroach in that battle.

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Cart - You seem to be enjoying living in the back of beyond even though it has its issues.
I think the pragmatic view on climate measures is to aim for policies which markedly reduce emissions but translate also into easily discernable efficiencies and sustainable improvements which are apparent to the general public.
In the short term this may result in less than optimum short term measures and I am not against modification of existing technology to reduce emissions rather than a wholesale government sponsored initiative directed to specific industries. Coal fired power stations can’t be dismantled overnight but we can filter the emissions short term - until we move to more long term sustainable solutions.
I feel a trading emissions scheme ( with suitable safeguards to exporting industries ) which recognizes an imputed cost on emissions offers a far less risky option than any government sponsored intervention targeting assistance to those who are perceived to be the heavy polluters.
Best wishes

Cartledge said...

DK, we are, at least, well ahead with basic health cover in this country. The problem then is mitigate costs of which hospitals are the highest. You people still have a long road to get to that problem.

Lindsay, thank you. I am enjoying it out here. On climate change, I wish I could say I was a convert to gradualism rather than a reluctant acceptor. You are right, but I would like to see some more dramatic action. Still, there does seem to be a growing community understanding on the need for change.