An empty wheelchair – or is there a person there we do not see?
For many of the nation's poor, food and shelter are more important than health care. Questions of insurance coverage loom broadly, but another question lingers: how to treat the poor we do not see.
Rural primary health care, including patient evacuation services, general practice and mental health care deliver more than just health. There are economic benefits too.
Providing health care to the bush not only benefits people's health but the local economy.
Health Insurers should be offering insurance that covers primary care, Paolucci argues.
Business Briefing: treat the cause not the symptoms of problems with private health insurance
The Conversation 10.5 MB (download)
If customers are questioning the value of private health insurance its because of the way the system is distorted by government incentives.
Some regions have had rates of preventable hospital admissions 50% above the state average for more than a decade.
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People ending up in hospital for diabetes, tooth decay, or other conditions that should be treatable or manageable out of hospital is a warning sign of system failure.
This approach will help concentrate efforts on evidence and value rather than ideologically based, slash-and-burn approaches.
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The government must do more to deliver a 21st-century health system – not just to improve its standing with voters but to meet the health needs of all Australians.
GPs tend to ignore advice from guidelines not relevant to general practice.
Many guidelines offered to GPs are based on evidence unrelated to general practice. Studies show doctors tend to ignore these guidelines which can pose a risk to patients' health.
Three more years for Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition.
What's in store for key policy areas, from health to education to infrastructure to asylum seekers, under a returned Coalition government?
Some Coalition’s policies have been seen as a fundamental assault on Medicare principles of bulk billing and universality.
Scare campaigns only work if there is some anxiety to build on. Labor’s Medicare campaign plugged into a long history of Coalition ambivalence – or open hostility – towards Medicare.
Pathology in Australia is big business.
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Pathology Australia promptly abandoned its Don't Kill Bulk Bill campaign against cuts to bulk-billing incentives after doing a deal with the federal government.
Although the Coalition is largely associated with this issue, Labor first introduced the Medicare rebate freeze in 2013 as a ‘temporary’ measure.
Labor will lift the rebate freeze from 2017, while under the Coalition, GPs will be paid the same amount for delivering health services in 2020 as they were in 2014. So what does this mean for patients?
About a million Australians now have diabetes.
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Better primary care could have prevented more than a quarter-of-a-million hospital admissions for health problems such as diabetes each year.
Almost two-thirds of over-65s have three or more diagnosed chronic conditions.
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Over-65s use twice as many health resources as the average Australian. But it's worth the expense.
Public hospital funding is in a critical condition.
Any health reform proposals should start by addressing public hospitals and chronic care. But successful change in these areas requires getting the state-Commonwealth funding and incentives right.
GP attendances make up just one-third of Medicare expenditure.
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Cutting Medicare rebates for GPs affects us all, whereas in-hospital private patient rebates, which only benefit the better-off, are ripe for the razor gang.
New modelling shows the Medicare rebate freeze will leave GPs A$8.43 worse off per consultation.
With GPs facing greater economic pressure and the health minister considering legislative change to make it easier for GP to charge them, GP co-payments, like Lazarus, may rise again from the dead.
Very high GP attenders cost Medicare an average of A$3,202 in 2012-13, compared to an Australian average of A$690.
As well as being responsible for a large share of total costs, people who visit the GP more often are more likely to live in the most disadvantaged areas, and to report being in poor health.
Medicare reform must focus on increasing value, not just cutting costs.
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The AMA described the proposed reimbursement changes for level B consultations as “an assault on general practice”.
AAP Image/Lukas Coch
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