An open letter to MP, Peter Dunne: The 'Affordable Health Care Bill'

Hi Peter, I hope you're having a great day.

As a professional who works on the front line, battling this issue on a day to day basis, I thought I'd take a moment to write to you (my local MP), to pledge my support for the Affordable Healthcare Bill, sponsored by NZ First MP Barbara Stewart (drawn from the ballot on August 12th).

As a bit of background, I'm a Registered Financial Adviser, and I find myself constantly dealing with Senior Citizens struggling to pay for the health insurance they are afraid to let go of, and fair enough too!

For our Senior Citizens, (specifically 60yrs+), Health Insurance is not cheap
My wife and I, in our mid 20's pay around $80 per month for two of the most comprehensive policies in the industry - A small price to pay for access to private healthcare - especially considering that just three months ago, my health insurance saved me $4,700.00 on Oral Surgery!

But let's put things in perspective for a second, if we were 65 years of age, our need for health insurance would likely be far more desperate
Whether it be that we need . . .

- to avoid a 3 month public waiting list for an urgent case of skin cancer
to avoid a two year public waiting list for breast reconstruction surgery
 to avoid a 6 year public waiting list for foot surgery
- or to avoid a 3 month wait just to get told we're on a wait list for hip reconstruction surgery!

But despite the fact that we would need it more at age 65... we would struggle to afford it, even with our current salaries, that are more than double the pension! 
The lowest Health Insurance cost for a 65-year-old couple, to have even the most basic, Surgical + Specialist no-excess Health Insurance Cover is a whopping $610.00 per month.

NZ Super would only be paying us $2,304.80 per month, and that means we would be spending 26% of our household income on Health Insurance! 

Currently, for people in this position, there is no compensation/tax break of any kind.
I have to say, this really baffles me - Indemnity Income Protection saves the government a huge sum of money on avoided sickness benefits, and it is tax deductible, why the discrimination against Health Insurance?

Those paying for private Health Insurance save the public system:
- $20,000 - $27,000 for a hip replacement
- $32,000 - $45,000 for a heart bypass
- $17,300 - $27,400 for angioplasty
- $15,000 - $140,000 for a round of chemotherapy

Just a few weeks ago, I was sitting down with a client and very dear friend of mine in his mid 70's. He told me that he was paying $5,500.00 per annum for him and his wife's existing health insurance cover.
He told me that the price was such that he couldn't justify keeping it any longer, especially seeing as he had just cut down on his working hours.
I said to him "Do you realise that should you need private surgery, you would likely need to mortgage the house?" and his response was "yes, I realise that, but taking the risk makes sense, and if it just means a long wait in the public system, well so be it".

Our senior citizens deserve better, in fact, we all deserve better. Any saving for Kiwis on Health Insurance is a good move.

Time for a change?

Thanks for your time Peter.
(I'll make sure this is posted or emailed to you also!)

Samuel Rees-Thomas