The Standard line: ACC

Written By: - Date published: 4:10 pm, October 14th, 2008 - 21 comments
Categories: ACC, The Standard line - Tags:

So, you’re talking with someone about politics and they say something really dumb and wrong and you know it’s wrong but you don’t have the arguments and facts at your fingertips to make a decisive point. That’s where our election series,The Standard line, comes in. The info you need in bite-size form. Today, ACC:

Pro-ACC points:
– ACC is a cheap and effective system of accident compensation.(1)
– More people get cover and they get back to work quicker than in other countries.(2)
– It is the envy of other countries, where people have to find someone to sue and win to get compensation and insurance companies often refuse to pay out leading to legal action. In NZ, everyone gets cover, not just those who can afford the best lawyers
– In other countries ACC frees the courts up to deal with more important things.

Counter-National points:
– We shouldn’t privatise because it would just be more expensive. ACC doesn’t make a profit, private insurers do.
– Private insurers make their money by making as few payouts as possible.
– ACC invests in reducing injury rates because it is a public good and it gets the benefit on its bottom-line. Competing private insurers have no interest in reducing accident rates.
– Merrill Lynch says Aussie insurers will make $200 million profit from National’s plan to privatise ACC. Why would we want to send profits offshore that could be going to injured people here?(3)
– ACC isn’t perfect but privatisation would make things much worse. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater

[if I’ve missed any important points tell me. Tomorrow-ish, showerheads]

21 comments on “The Standard line: ACC”

  1. Greg 1

    To rebut……..

    ACC is not cheap, when the privitisation process started in the late 1990’s insurence levy’s dropped dramatically…… and no this wasn’t the insurence companies loss leading, quite the opposite. It was actually over priced to compensate for the fact that Labout could (and did) det into power and completely reverse the process.

    Comparison between these ‘other countries’ is irrelevant. NZ should be looking for the best possible system, not just the best of the worst.

    As for the suing problem, here’s an idea, make accident insurence compulsary, just let the consumer decide who provides it. That deals with the courts problem.

    Insurers who refuse to pay out will lack customers, they will go out of business and only the good insurers will be able to operate long term, the beauty of the free market.

    As I said earlier, privitising would actually make ACC cheaper (including profits) because the private sector is far more efficient than the public sector (just try working in the public sector if you don’t believe me). The late 1990’s example proved this.

    As for the statement “Competing private insurers have no interest in reducing accident rates.”. Of course they do! It means they have to pay out less! Win, win in my book.

    As for profits going overseas, this is countered by increased consumer spending because Kiwi’s have more money in their pockets because insurence costs less. This increase will be greater than the loss overseas. Also its important to remember that foreigners invest a lot in New Zealand so it makes sense for us to recipricate and have some profits go off shore.

    Privitisation seems much better to me……… prove me wrong……..go on.

  2. “As for the suing problem, here’s an idea, make accident insurence compulsary, just let the consumer decide who provides it. That deals with the courts problem.”

    no it doesn’t, because insurers are constantly trying to get out of liability or trying to put it on another insurer…that was already starting when ACC was privatised for a year by National. i see my summary point misses that, i’ll update

    all your other points are rubbish too

  3. djp 3

    ACC is stupid, if I go rock climbing for the weekend I pay just as much acc levies as someone who stayed home playing playstation.. one day a socalist politician is going to realise this and ban “unsafe” r&r altogether

  4. randal 4

    djp..one day someone will ban idiots like you!

  5. ACC is stupid, if I go rock climbing for the weekend I pay just as much acc levies as someone who stayed home playing playstation.. one day a socalist politician is going to realise this and ban “unsafe’ r&r altogether

    The only people that complain about that is the right. Who also complain about the nanny state *boggle*

  6. djp 6

    randal, maybe one day you will come up with a cogent point

    Chris S, the argument is to get rid of acc

  7. toad 7

    Steve, you are spot on here – National would turn the Accident Compensation Corporation into the Accident Corporatisation Castration!

    I have considerable personal experience in this area, having worked for many years as an advocate for ACC claimants, and have blogged from that perspective on g.blog re this.

    If National lead the next governemnt, be very, very afraid of having an accident.

  8. Dean 8

    “all your other points are rubbish too”

    Those grapes were sour too, I imagine.

    “no it doesn’t, because insurers are constantly trying to get out of liability or trying to put it on another insurer”

    I can see you haven’t dealt with very many insurers, SP. Because you’re just plain wrong there. Again.

    Is there actually a point where you realise you’re just spinning and that some things are way more of a shade of grey than you’d care to admit? For instance,I thought your assertions about catholics and the pope being somehow complicit in the holocaust was complete rubbish too, but I don’t see you offering any relevant argument to your simplistic argument. It seems to me that you’re a very angry man.

  9. toad 9

    Dean, you might be able to ping SP for a lack of experience in this area, but not me.

    I’ve worked (off and on) as an advocate for ACC claimants from 1992, and am now a policy advisor on ACC. By far the worst period of claimants being denied their legal rights to cover, rehabilitation, and compensation was 1999-2000 when workplace accident insurance was privatised.

  10. John McKenzie 10

    Brilliant, though I’m not too sure about the name, especially when the Standard has been giving National so much stick for just spewing the party line.

    From my own person experience of living in America (which has privatized health insurance) I found that some of the people I worked with were afraid of getting injured. This simply didn’t register with me, in NZ I’ve been injured bad enough to need an ambulance, x-rays and all that jazz, but the entire process was smooth and I got the stitches and physio that I needed to get back to it. But in the States, what with having to pay excess and the quite possible case of the insurance company using said accident as an excuse to increase rates, people simply didn’t go to the doctor. One guy I worked with left it so long that his cold turned into pneumonia and he spent weeks in hospital.

    Sure this is just my personal experience but as someone who has first hand experience living in a country with private health insurance I can knowingly say that I don’t want any of the stress and fear in my life.

  11. djp 11

    toad, why is there be a need for an ACC claiments advocates?

    Sounds as though ACC is just as dastardly at trying to get out of liability as the private insurers supposedly are.

  12. The PC Avenger 12

    Greg, are you seriously proposing a system where people have to die in order for improvement to occur? Approximately how many deaths would be acceptable to you in the transitionary period from our current system to your libertarian, divorced-from-reality fantasy?

    Also name the countries where the system you propose works.

  13. Dean 13

    “Dean, you might be able to ping SP for a lack of experience in this area, but not me.”

    i’m glad you realise that SP’s lack of experience in what he talks about is relevant.

    “I’ve worked (off and on) as an advocate for ACC claimants from 1992, and am now a policy advisor on ACC. By far the worst period of claimants being denied their legal rights to cover, rehabilitation, and compensation was 1999-2000 when workplace accident insurance was privatised.”

    Why is there a need for a policy advisor to ACC in the first place? In fact, why isn’t it an option for people to opt out on their own decision?

    It’s about control, isn’t it.

  14. Greg 14

    I was going to have a go at SP…. but Dean already had it covered…….

    The PC Avenger – “Greg, are you seriously proposing a system where people have to die in order for improvement to occur? Approximately how many deaths would be acceptable to you in the transitionary period from our current system to your libertarian, divorced-from-reality fantasy?

    Also name the countries where the system you propose works.”

    Who said anything about dying, please explain how my post has anything to do with more people dying? The wonderful thing about economics is that prospective insurers know they won’t survive unless they provide a high quality service. Meaning the transitional period will be small. Even if you supposed worst case scenario occurs, it doesn’t result in people dying. I am not advocating a policy where hospitals ask about health insurence before they save a life, of course there will always be a role for the state to play in that extreme regard.

    Most wealthy countries have a similar scheme, with changes here and there. I say we learn from where other countries have succeeded, and where others have failed. So I came up with that theory, in my opinion it seems to incorportate the best of both worlds.

  15. Spider_Pig 15

    If nationalised accident insurance is such a good thing, then I would suggest that car insurance should be nationalised. And house insurance. And contents insurance. And travel insurance. And income protection insurance. And health insurance. And bank deposit insurance.

    Oh. Wait…

  16. Greg 16

    That comment made my day. Seriously.

  17. Duncan 17

    John Mc – I suspect Steve probably called it that as a play on words. I think this is a great idea, thanks guys.

  18. Alternative 18

    The ACC has a manual about how you “fix” people. The insurers have every incentive to get people back to work. They’ll pay for that knee operation at a private hospital if it get them there (you guys will need resuscitation after thinking that.). Insurers will get the job done.

    You guys like the money that goes to your union employers.

    Competition means that people get to find the best option that suits them. Like choosing between UNITE and the NDU.

    Oh and safer workplaces get lower premiums. Wouldn’t the workers that you organise for prefer to work in a place that is rewarded for their efforts to be safe…..

    You guys need to lose the cloth cap and get into the real world.

  19. Daveo 19

    Competition means that people get to find the best option that suits them. Like choosing between UNITE and the NDU.

    Two things.

    1) You choose the union that’s onsite, Unite and the NDU don’t compete.
    2) This is possibly the worst example you could give. Unite and the NDU have merged their operations to the point that they’re virtually the same union.

  20. Alternative 20

    Excellent Comrade Daveo.

    We wouldn’t want people to have a choice.

    Good to hear that UNITE and the NDU don’t have to demonstrate their value to their members.

    I await the Commissar’s pronouncement on what brand of cereal I should buy. Thank god I no longer have to think for mysellf!!!

  21. Daveo 21

    Your problem is you don’t understand what unionism is about. It’s not about competition but cooperation. They’re democratic organisations accountable to their members, not companies bidding for larger market share.

    Of course you’re always free to start your own union, there’s nothing stopping you. But people who engage in competittive unionism usually find it’s used by the boss to divide workers and weaken their bargaining power.

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