if ACC cover is cut, the costs of what was paid for by ACC will still have to be paid for by society somehow.
The treatments and lost income that ACC covers won’t magically disappear if National cuts cover. Instead, we’ll just have to pay the cost some other way. And it’s likely to be more expensive.
What people tend to forget is that ACC was set up to save New Zealand money and it does an incredibly good job of it. Rather than having employers pay some profit making private insurer for workplace accident insurance, and workers paying for income insurance, and people paying for insurance against them and their families getting injured outside of work it’s all covered by ACC. Nobody misses out here and has to try to cover the costs themselves or find someone to sue (if they can afford it). While other common law countries have court systems stagnated by personal injury litigation, we avoid nearly all that trouble and let the court system deal with more important issues because every one gets cover if they’re injured. In fact the only people who don’t win from ACC are the private insurers – they’ve successfully fought off similar initatives in other countries and here they’ve given millions to National.
So, what costs will we have to cover some other way if National cuts cover? Well, their first targets are physiotherapy and therapy for sexual abuse victims. What will happen when people can’t get ACC cover for these treatments? Well, some will be able to pay for themselves, but many won’t. Instead, their injuries will go untreated and things will often get worse at cost to them, which is a cost to society as a whole. It will be left to charities to try to cover the gaps that should be filled uniformly and fairly by the State.
Their injury may even lead to loss for others. Check out this interview with a man who was sexually abused as a child and is now getting therapy through ACC. What if he had remained effectively self-medicating through alcoholism? We would have borne the cost when he got liver disease or crashed his car into a family.
The cost doesn’t disappear just because the ACC entitlement is cut. We have to pay sometime and, then, the cost is likely to be greater.