Friday, August 26, 2005

Back to the 90's

National has signalled its clear intention to take us back to the 90's, with its announcement that it would remove ACC's statutory monopoly in the workplace insurance market. National tried this near the end of its last term, and it didn't work; instead of premiums going down due to competition, they in fact went up. And the reason is pretty obvious: private insurers don't just have to pay claims plus overheads - they also have to meet their shareholder's demands for profits. ACC doesn't, and so it can be cheaper.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected this move in 1999 - but National doesn't seem to have got the message. Like the Bourbon restorationists, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing, and want to continue their Revolution exactly where they left off, as if nothing had happened in the meantime.


I really don't like the way ACC has been moving over the past years. It's meant to be compensation for being injured for which we surrendered the right to sue. But it seems to have mutated into a sort of pseudo benefit with the stigma that attaches to that and with systemic incentives to not pay people their entitlements and the ability to make them jump through hoops.

Not that privatising it or opening it to competition would necessarily fix that.

Posted by Amanda : 8/26/2005 12:25:00 PM

I am concerned that part of the reason for those lower premiums is the systematic denial of claims. OTOH, I don't think the private insurance industry is any better on this, and certainly what you read about things in the US is not encouraging.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/26/2005 12:42:00 PM

Labour's track record on ACC is horrendous. An arrogant state bureaucracy which thinks it is an insurance company and follows a decline all claims mentality. Privatisation will be worse for injury victims but Labour simply must bring ACC to heel and make it serve claimants not itself.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/26/2005 12:54:00 PM