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Although the Coalition is largely associated with this issue, Labor first introduced the Medicare rebate freeze in 2013 as a ‘temporary’ measure. AAP/Joel Carrett

Confused about the Medicare rebate freeze? Here’s what you need to know

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?
The new funding meets some of the shortfall left by the 2014 budget cuts. AAP/Lucas Coch

Hospital funding deal: experts respond

States will receive an additional A$2.9 billion from July 2017 to June 2020, with growth in Commonwealth funding capped at 6.5%. The Conversation's experts respond.
The health sector can learn from other industries that turn to operations research to fix everyday challenges. Anna Jurkovska/Shutterstock

Hospitals don’t need increased funding, they need to make better use of what they’ve got

Fixing the hospital system is not just a matter of more funding. Hospitals need to work smarter, not harder.
The Commonwealth is telling the states to fix their own hospital budget problems, as though state governments can simply find savings from other areas. MARCELODLT/Shutterstock

Here’s how to boost hospital funds and end the blame game

Health-care costs are rising, driven by expensive developments in treatments, more demanding populations and rising national wealth. We need to change the financing system to meet this challenge.
Patients often rely on their GP to make the choice of specialist for them through the referral process with little or no discussion of prices. gtfour/Shutterstock

How much?! Seeing private specialists often costs more than you bargained for

Why is it so difficult to find out exactly how much it's going to cost to have that suspicious mole removed or to be admitted to hospital for that colonoscopy or hip replacement?
A snapshot of 2015: health reviews, Health Check series, thalidomide series, Medicare versus private health insurance. AAP; Shutterstock; Julian Smith/; Dave Hunt/AAP

2015, the year that was: Health + Medicine

This was the year of the health review – mental health care, Medicare, private health insurance, the pharmacy industry ... and the list goes on. But how much movement was there on policy?
A significant proportion of the growth in Medicare costs has been driven by government policies such as items for new services and larger rebates. Rido/Shutterstock

Government policy, not consumer behaviour, is driving rising Medicare costs

The Coalition tried to justify its failed GP co-payment as an attempt to rein in consumers, who were driving the increase in Medicare costs. Turns out government policy was mostly to blame.

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