Laying in the back of your carI’ve been thinking ’bout the ways that I took it too far In pursuit of perfection, I lost my direction And now I gotta reckon with the shame of tomorrow See I always wanted more from the world, more from myself Piling on the good times, high from the top shelf, yeah yeahI heard that everybody’s got a limit, manI think I hit, cuz I’m Cuz I’m only Guess I’m onlyHumanDon’t know what we’re doin’ Fight because we’re stupid Life we just abuse it Crying in confusion I know I just ruin Everything I worked for now I’m sitting all alone Guess that makes me superhuman Guess that makes me superhuman Guess that makes me super Guess that makes me superSitting at the top of LALooking out at all the billboards and highways Guess I answered the question, I’m not the exception And now I gotta reckon with nobody to blame See I thought that I could fly to the sun, never get burned Pride is a, pride is a motherfuckerI know that everybody’s got a limitAnd one day, you’re gonna hit it, cuz you’re Cuz you’re only Yea we’re onlyHumanDon’t know what we’re doin’ Fight because we’re stupid Life we just abuse it Crying in confusion I know I just ruin Everything I worked for now I’m sitting all alone Guess that makes me superhuman
Taylor’s boyfriend looks scary.
Watchin Rafah, watching people ignore Gaza, wondering what that siren is in our street, apparently they’re looking for a man with face tattoos in Toronto.
Saw a new GP in the same practice. She seems good, sending me for tests, talking about my medication levels with me. Gotta get some bloods check my kidney and liver, an ECG for my heart to see if the mads are doing me more bad than good. See if my shakes have anything to do with that and a trippy heart.
Wasn’t bulk billed. $76 upfront, a woman apologising profusely for not being able to pay the other day, signs saying fees for late payment, and man yelling at the practice manager because they weren’t going to see him because he was owing money and shouldn’t have been rebooked in until it was settled. A growing line.
I did the grocery shopped and waited for my ride with the other pensioners outside woolies. More than a dollar a can for on special Diet Coke doesn’t sit right for me. But I’ll pay it. It’s my only real vice. But cadbury was $3 a block too so that was good.
Forgot bacon and mayo.
Saturday afternoon saw a flutter of tweets speculating about what might be served up to us plebs after Labor MPs return to Canberra early to solve the cost-of-living crisis and their slump in the important but not important at all polls.
Better late than never, I guess.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called Labor MPs back to Canberra nearly two weeks early to discuss the cost-of-living crisis facing Australian households.https://t.co/LBrlJ6m3eO
— Gary Buckley™ (@myrddenbuckley) January 20, 2024
I have my theories about what is possible and likely. And since I have a personal blog I get to write about them, with no qualifications other than I, too, am here in this country at this time, reading news and feeling the vibes.
Extending the energy rebates – This is an easy one as they’re only set for this financial year, so Labor will pop them into the May budget and probably even further expanded. I know they vary by state, but people already receiving concessions on their bills here in NSW got $125 a quarter off their bills automatically, and it was recently expanded to more families, but you have to apply. Not sure if they’ll up the value, or give it to more people. But it will be there for 24/25 and in place for the 2025 election.
Increasing the energy supplement in welfare payments – This famously hasn’t risen since its introduction in 2013 is it isn’t indexed. I get $10.60 a fortnight as a partnered disability pensioner. Could I see them doubling that supplement? Maybe? No, it’s not a huge amount extra, but it’d be extra targeted at the poorest on a hot item. It wouldn’t come in immediately though, might not even be til September if it’s a May Budget item.
Back to school payments – Yeah, it’s always a hot topic at this time of year, how expensive it is to send kids to public school, uniform and shoe costs, materials, backpacks, laptops and more. But it seems more pointed this year, perhaps it comes alongside the increasing stories of families living in tents, when they then have to find money for a laptop, let alone a place to reliably use it or charge it. It would be popular and really couldn’t be criticised. Cash payments to parents of school aged kids, non-means tested would be the fastest way and the most effective – but they do love their vouchers :/ It would take immediate heat off the government too, because they’ll need sometime that looks like it’s happening NOW, and feeding a clothing kids looks good.
Welfare Payments – I don’t see an increase to base rates happening this budget outside indexation, which is why I think the energy supplement may be a way to go about increasing the amount people are getting slightly, without angering the usual. I mean I WANT them to raise all payments above the poverty line, and I will push for that and ask for that and make arguments for it. But I don’t see it coming from this meeting, and not in the May budget. Would we believe them in they take it the the election though without any significant movement in the previous years? Yeah nah. That ship has sailed for Labor and unless they do blindside us in May with significant increases, particularly at the JobSeeker and Youth Allowance rates, noone’s going to believe their “good intentions” come 2025.
Rejig of Stage Three – Greg Jericho and The Australia Institute have done the legwork for them, giving them a model that flattens out the cuts a bit more while not removing them completely. You need to remember Labor voted for the bill in the first place and have been extremely insistent on keeping that promise to the top end. It also leaves them with money to put towards those other payments. I mean, they COULD just bring back the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset that was so sorely missed last year, that hit a lot of people unexpectedly. It’s an option. They won’t scrap stage three though.
Business business business (is this working?) – I really don’t know or care what they do for businesses, I’m sure that there will be heaps. Yeah, my partner is self employed but we really don’t get any of the subsidies and such that are out there at this level *shrugs*
From the previous cost of living measures that haven’t excited me all that much, I don’t think this meeting will bring more rent assistance, and while personally more money is nice rent assistance is way too little too late and not given to enough people. They need to buy more public housing now, since building is going to take forever. Acquire vacant properties, put them in the public housing pool in a couple of months. Maybe they’ll extended the increased medicare bulk billing incentive? But to who and how? And is it too late with doctors dropping bulk billing as I type? They won’t do anything with medicines, that was already a big one. Unless they lower the safety nets? Personally I need less upfront costs for medical care and medicines, not rebates that kick in later. If I avoid the doctor cos the upfront cost is too high, I’ll never reach the safety net. And I’ll be more expensive down the track.
What do you think will come out of Wednesday’s meeting and the May budget and will it actually make a difference to you?
Yes yes, the LNP froze the Medicare rebates for years, pushing GPs away from being able to bulk bill all their patients, but many still chose to bulk bill, or offered bulk billing to kids and concession card holders. Others moved to private billing entirely, with some offering a slightly lower upfront cost if you’re a cardholder, but not all.
Absolutely given they froze indexation in 2013.
The Liberals predictably extended it. But make no mistake where it started.
Those 50 clinics don't make up for the 500 that stopped bulk billing in the last 12 months.
The offset is means tested, fucking over the working poor.
— Wobbly (@Ozwobbly) January 15, 2024
In all the cases where the GP is choosing to bulk bill or take a lower upfront payment they are effectively having to absorb that cost into the practice and have to covered by full fee paying patients.
It's woefully insufficient and over 500 clinics have dropped Bulk Billing in the last year.
In Tasmania less than 1% of clinics bulk bill and it's less tham 10% in WA.
I will also note it was a Labor government which froze the indexation on bulk billing leading to this crisis. pic.twitter.com/Acm4mxv3AU
— Wobbly (@Ozwobbly) January 15, 2024
But the changed to have a different bulk billing incentive for those that have a concession card and those that don’t has certainly stopped some bulk billing non-eligible patients, as they would then be worth $13 less per consultation, and where is the sense of obligation to bulk bill regular patients if they are worth less on the books than those with concessions and kids?
The RACGPs recommends a level B consult fee of just over $100. So, when they bulk-bill a patient, they are accepting a lower payment than if they charged them privately. If they private bill though, the patient will only get the regular rebate back, and that $20 is lost to the empty promises.
So, when Labor defend the stage three tax cuts with the bulk billing incentives and the chance they make a difference to people’s ability to access the medical care they need, I laugh and cry.
If you’re on $45k, you’re unlikely to have a health care card (you might if you have a family member with a disability) so your 43c a week isn’t exactly going to cover the $90 upfront my GP charges, or the $70 with concession. You might be able to buy some of that “summer sports gear” for a certain upcoming long weekend, but you won’t be able to cover the “$30” meds that went up to $31.60 on Jan 1.
— 💜 phonakins 🇵🇸🍉 (@phonakins) January 7, 2024
So, while the LNP starved Medicare, by creating a three-tier system, Labor are killing the last of the will for universal bulk-billing. So every time they tout the tripled bulk billing incentive, remember that it only applies to kids under 16, concession card holders and some eligible Indigenous Australians, and so leaves out the precious middle Australia that I thought they were trying to win over? No?
Who even is the Labor target market these days?