Health economics

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Older people are more likely to drop out of the workforce for good when they’re sick than young people. Bacho/Shutterstock

Balancing the health budget: chronic disease investment pays big dividends

Economic modelling shows that policies to reduce chronic diseases can have large economic benefits –A$4.5 billion a year for diabetes alone – by reducing health costs and boosting the workforce.
The issue came to a head last year when the federal budget ripped billions of dollars of hospital funding from the states. Shutterstock

Remind me again, what’s the problem with hospital funding?

State and territory leaders will meet in Sydney today to nut out solutions to health and education funding gaps. But what exactly is the problem they're hoping to address?
Billions were expected to be saved from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – but surprisingly the budget only outlines $252 million in savings. Lukas Coch/AAP

Federal Budget 2015: health experts react

The big surprise about this year’s health budget was what wasn’t there – billions of dollars in expected savings from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
The government is effectively undermining the power of Medicare as a single payer and the role of Medicare as a universal provider. Peter Boyle/AAP

The debate we’re yet to have about private health insurance

In the final instalment of our series, Lesley Russell asks whether Australians need private health insurance, and what a two-tiered systems means for quality, access and equity.
Promises to build or upgrade public hospitals are made at every state election, while other issues are ignored. Sapol Chairatkaewcharoen/Shutterstock

The real health issues facing NSW, without the spin

What happens when you bring a state health minister face-to-face with her two main challengers, fronting a roomful of health experts, without any TV cameras to leap on any "gaffes" or stumbles?
Very high GP attenders cost Medicare an average of A$3,202 in 2012-13, compared to an Australian average of A$690. Tyler Olson/Shutterstock

Time for policy rethink as frequent GP attenders account for 41% of costs

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.

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