Yesterday being Valentine's Day, I collected Gemma from her new job (well, I actually collected her a kilometre from her new job, as she was walking on the side of the road in the rain. I was concerned, but she was enjoying it, so that set a nice carefree mood for the evening..) and brought her home. We quickly changed and went out to find a restaurant in Manuka that had a spare table. Found one at Kopi Tiam, a funky and colourful Malaysian-Chinese 60-seater. Great meal:

Obviously, being in a relationship, I don't mind Valentine's Day. We never make a big deal out of it with spangly hearts and kilograms of candy, but we do try to make some fun out of it. It's not so bad as the other fake vacations through the year.

Okay, so I had a whole bunch of diagnostic tests and pathology done on my old sack o' bones a couple of weeks back. Almost everything in good working order, I'm happy to say. But what I have is a stack of paid invoices from the lab, almost $700 worth (!). In Australia we have universal healthcare with a federal government system called Medicare (introduced by the great Gough Whitlam in 1977.

Many Australians also choose to pay though the nose for private health insurance, to cover faster hospital surgery, private rooms, and alternative medicine. My partner and I are in this group, paying some $300/month for the privileges and top-level cover. We're told by our glorious Tory government that we're doing the right thing, and relieving the stress on the public system.

So off I trundled to the government Medicare office in the CBD this morning, to claim my rebate (varies, usually in the 70% area).

Medicare: "We're sorry, Sir, but you're not eligible for rebates on any of these tests, except the least expensive one"
Me: "Excuse me?"
Medicare repeats the statement
Me: "Why?"
Medicare: "Because you had them all done on the same day." Fait accompli.
Me: "So you're telling me that if I had one test done each day, necessitating almost a week off work rather than a single day, you'd pay up?"
Medicare: "Yes."

This frickin' country is governed by idiots. The sicker a patient is, the less rebate they get for their state-mandated taxation levy to Medicare. Conversely, more time off work, resulting in a less productive workplace and economy, is rewarded.

I walked out with $87.40, with thoughts of revenge on the conservative Minister for Health and Community Services.

Oh, Lometa's writeup below is beautiful, although it seems the Ching! rightfully belongs to Scott. %-) Good for you Lo', I'm really very happy for you.