MacDoctor and me: We agree and disagree on ACC

Medical practitioner and right wing blogger MacDoctor has three recent posts on the disastrous failings of ACC to provide entitlements to injured claimants.

I couldn’t agree more with MacDoctor’s definition of the problem:

The worrying thing here is that Mr [sic] Smith apparently has no idea whether there is a problem with ACC claims and no inclination to find out.  Over 400 people have complained to the Herald and ACC lose fully one third of all their disputed claims. Yet Mr. Smith would like “a larger number”!

How many would be big enough, Mr. Smith. Ten thousand? A Million? Would losing 50% of all claims be enough? Or will you only do something when it hits 99%? All those management seminars which told you to put a specific action or date on something didn’t do you much good, did they, Mr. Smith?

Of course, it occurs to me that the government is happy to let ACC get as belligerant [sic] as it likes. After all, they are saving the government money.

Spot on!  But as for MacDoctor’s proposed solution:

I can’t think of a better reason why ACC should be completely privatised. Monopoly government insurers have no place in compassionate, civilised society.

I could not disagree more.

Privatising ACC will exacerbate that problem.  Insurers want to minimise claim costs.  Employers want to minimize levies (or insurance premiums, as they would be called under privatisation).  The easiest way to do that is to deny legitimate claims, in the knowledge that most claimants don’t have the fortitude, legal knowledge, or financial capacity to obtain suitably specialised legal representation to contest wrongly denied claims in what is a complex area of law.  MacDoctor’s “solution” opens the way for collusion and corruption between insurers and employers and (dare I say it), the odd corrupt medical practitioner to deny legitimate ACC claims.

The result of the privatisation MacDoctor purports to be the solution will actually be more legitimate claims being denied, not less! The insurance market model breaks down seriously when the people who pay the premiums are not the same people who make the claims. Someone dissatisfied with their insurer normally has the option to go somewhere else. An injured worker does not, because his or her employer will determine the insurer under a privatised ACC regime.

The solution that will work for claimants is for Government to impose constraints on ACC’s zeal to reduce costs at the expense of justice to claimants, including key performance indicators re the percentage of claim declines overturned on review and appeal; and to give claimants a choice of suitably qualified assessor.  Sending all back injury claimants to assessors of ACC’s favoured choice, such as orthopaedic surgeon Brian Otto for example, with no choice to the claimant of an alternative  assessor should not be an option.

2 Comments Posted

  1. It is part of the overall agenda of privatisation of infrastructure – they know they can’t just legislate, so it is being done by stealth.

  2. MacDoctor has it so wrong Frog.

    I can’t believe that anyone who has the intelligence to get through med school can’t see the potential for and likelihood of corruption from letting employers and their insurers decide among themselves whether workers injury claims are legit or not, and if a decline is disputed, then appoint a reviewer of their own choice to arbitrate on the claim.

    Totally corrupt, imo. But that is where the Nats appear to be headed.

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