Tim Kreider’s opinion piece for The New York Times made the top of my must-read list this week. Kreider, a writer who lives an idyllic existence in small town America, where checking his emails means a drive into the town library, says the rest of us all too busy for our own good.
Well, that part we know. Normal lives are chaotic, non-stop and full to the brim. Just try organising a social event with more than two other people sometime.
More interesting was Kreider’s sub-point, the bit where he said we only have ourselves to blame for being too busy. And that our seemingly endless list of social, work, health or family commitments are created by us on purpose, to make up for our largely intangible day jobs.
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Stroke remains one of the most significant economic and social burdens in our community.
Despite the fact it is the second biggest cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability, the considerable needs of people who have had a stroke, their families and the health professionals who care for them remain shamefully underfunded, under-resourced and under-recognised.
This is a condition that strikes in an instant, without warning, and tears apart the fabric of the life it affects.
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Cancer and heart disease each claim a third of all deaths Australia-wide. Of these two, it is cancer which has a curious hold on our purse-strings, securing the lion’s share of both government and philanthropic giving. Cancer and kids are the magic words in giving. In contrast there is a real element of “your time is up” when it comes to your ticker.
On hard eligibility and based on economic return, our Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme seems close to the mark. With 33 per cent of deaths due to heart disease, 34 per cent of our PBS funds heart, stroke and vascular disease.
But government isn’t perfect. Program funding for cardiovascular disease is just $8.6 million, compared to $2.5 billion for cancer, $1.6 billion for diabetes and $1.4 billion for mental health. Of the heart disease categories, stroke has long been the poor cousin with only a tiny fraction of Australians getting gold standard care.
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