The United States is struggling to replace (or avoid replacing) a hodgepodge of state health insurance laws and programs with a somewhat more standardized system based on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).
Australia is trying to supplement its own fragmented hodgepodge of support programs for people with serious disabilities with a new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The NDIS is supposed to help about 410,000 Australians who have a “permanent disability that significantly affects their communication, mobility, self-care or self-management.”
Australian officials have budgeted 1 billion Australian dollars to develop the program and hope to start testing it in a few locations in mid-2013.
Officials say that participants will get quick access to services that could improve their ability to function, such as therapy aimed at helping people with autism or Parkinson’s disease, and that participants will get help with finding and using government services and community-based services.
Officials also want to shift from an ad hoc system for funding disability programs to basing funding levels on actuarial projections.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has talked about requiring states to contribute about 21,000 Australian dollars in funding per person per year and supplementing that amount with cash from the Australian federal government.
One thing that’s striking about the documents on the NDIS website is how similar the goals are to PPACA goals and how pleasant they sound. What kind of sour Grinch could really object to replacing rationed supports for people with disabilities with personalized supports based on each individual’s own goals and aspirations?