National is going to privatise ACC. As part of the deal for support on its ACC cuts and levy hikes from the Maori Party and ACT, it will be privatising ACC’s Work Account (the part paid by employers for workplace accidents).
First, there will be a perfunctory report provided by the ACC Stocktake Group, a group of handpicked Righties. This report due in June next year, of course, will make all sorts of fabulous claims about the benefits of privatisation without any real evidence to back it up and claim that ACC will collapse or be eaten by wild dogs or something if privatisation doesn’t go ahead.
After the report, the Government will push through privatisation legislation (under urgency, no doubt).
Businesses (except a few big businesses and the ideologues) don’t want this. The cost of finding the appropriate private provider, the risk of the provider collapsing, and the likelihood of higher levies after a period of loss-leading make privatisation a bad deal for small and medium size businesses.
For workers this is bad news too. They will be less likely to get coverage, and more likely to have to fight an insurance company through the courts to get anything. Payouts will be smaller.
The court system will be clogged with insurers fighting claimants, ACC, and each other over who pays.
We know this will happen because that’s the experience overseas in countries not fortunate enough to have ACC.
The only people who win from this are the big Aussie insurers who stand to rip $200 million a year from our economy in profits. Ultimately, that $200 million will come out of your pocket.
[BTW, in the House yesterday, both Nick Smith and Tony Ryall admitted that the supposed ‘savings’ from National’s ACC cuts will be borne by the health budget instead. Like I said, the costs don’t disappear just because they’re cut from ACC. They haven’t even bothered to work out how big the cost to Health will be.]