Sunday, 18 October 2009

death by a thousand cuts

yes, finally a post from me. i've spent the last 10 days or so being completely unavailable on-line, in that i didn't connect to the internet at all at home & haven't check my private email addresses during the day either. i find i need to do this every now and then, when things start to overwhelm me. it's a way of retiring from the world, and only interacting in ways and with people that i want to interact with. and it's a way of claiming my time as my own and not at the whims and demands of the various groups and organisations i volunteer with.

there are also times when i feel like my own e-spaces that i have created don't feel safe to me. that's wierd too, and i guess arises mostly because there are things that i don't want to have to deal with, and requests that i just want to avoid. it's one of the things about modern life, this being constantly on-call, that i sometimes find difficult to deal with. i suppose it would much better for me to develop a backbone and learn to say no more clearly and more often. i just find a passive withdrawal to be more my style. and it also deals with the people who just don't hear "no", no matter how loudly you say it.

so anyway, i'm mostly back in the e-world and have been trying to catch up on the quieter day of this weekend, in between groceries and getting the washing out and generally cleaning up. and there are plenty of issues to be writing about over the last couple of weeks, it's hard to choose.

but the one that bothers me most are the cuts to ACC. i've blogged plenty about changes around sensitive claims over at the hand mirror, and there is a petition alive on the issue as well as a march coming up soon. but most of the other cuts are pretty nasty too. a while back i wrote about accidental death cover, which included cover when a spouse commits suicide. i really can't believe that they are planning to take this support away, on the basis that spouses who die of medical causes don't get similar state support.

of all the stupid reasons to withhold cover! that reasoning applies to almost every type of cover provided by ACC. as for the "we don't have enough money argument", again nonsense. there are plenty of posts over at the standard proving that this is so, but very simply, an organisation that made a billion dollar surplus last year is not short on funds. add to this the fact that predictions of future liability will vary considerably depending on what assumptions you make about many components of the calculations (eg will interest rates in 10 years be 4%? 10%? and what about in 20 years? how long will the average person with lifelong compensation live? 20 years? 30 years? etc etc).

i'm also beginning to have serious doubts about the wisdom of requiring ACC to be fully-funded. there's a strong argument for putting aside moneys for future superannuation liabilities based on an aging population and the fact that advances in medical technologies have meant that people live a lot longer. however, for ACC, one would think that the opposite would be true. technology and government action through regulation, safety campaigns and financial incentives (eg reduced levies to reward employers who provide safer workplaces) should serve to reduce the number of accidents. an example is the road toll, which has generally trended downwards through a range of measures aimed at deterrance and at changing social attitudes, as well as technological features in new vehicles (airbags etc).

and i hate how the discourse on this issue, just like so many others, is being reduced to the level of the individual. there seems to be very little discourse about the social and societal benefits of the scheme, and the value to us all of providing a comprehensive government run scheme. i guess i'm especially feeling angry about that after hearing a littel bit of rodney hide on tv friday morning (yeah, i was at the airport, i don't watch the show voluntarily and avoid listening to anything mr hide has to say as much as i can). but there he was, trying to make peole who receive ACC into welfare beneficiaries (as if this, in and of itself, is somehow a bad thing) who we should all think of as ripping off the system. bring it down to the individual, ignore community and collective benefits, and then wonder why we've turned into such a bunch of selfish morons. sigh.

so all in all, i'm finding it really sad that ACC is being pared back in this way, and am appalled by the proposals revealed in the sunday star times today. there is no doubt at all that ACC is being slowly prepared for privatisation, and that private insurance companies are set to make a windfall, at the expense of us all.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

I quite like quiet withdrawal for a time. It reminds us that what you write here is a gift, freely given, but one that has a cost.

As for ACC... I'm finding it hard to understand the figures and the logic. A cut here, a cut there, and pretty soon we're talking about real people who are hurting badly.