Australians contribute almost a fifth of all health care spending through fees.
Health policy was an important factor in the election outcome, but one of the most important issues in the health sector – the impact of out-of-pocket costs – was mostly ignored.
There is a strong political and economic case for the government to cut its support for private insurance and to restore Medicare to its original role.
The Turnbull government must reconcile the political sensitivity of Medicare and the need for fiscal discipline.
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.
The Labor Party is heading into the election with its Medicare banner hoisted high.
The greater threats to our national public health system lie in the increasing role of consumer co-payments and the power of vested interests that stifle policy innovation in health.
New AMA president Michael Gannon is looking to ‘build bridges’ with what he expects will be a returned Turnbull government.
The AMA has campaigned heavily on the Medicare rebate freeze, pointing out its potential impact on patient access if out-of-pocket costs were to increase.
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?
People with chronic illness often report bewilderment with the health system’s complexity.
We need to focus on keeping people out of hospital by providing better co-ordinated and integrated care.
The new funding meets some of the shortfall left by the 2014 budget cuts.
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.
Hospital funding has long been the subject of acrimonious and unedifying funding disputes between the federal and state governments.
The Commonwealth wants to partially reverse the cuts it made to public hospital funding in the 2014 budget. But the deal has some unwelcome strings attached.
The health sector can learn from other industries that turn to operations research to fix everyday challenges.
Fixing the hospital system is not just a matter of more funding. Hospitals need to work smarter, not harder.
Some hospitals have substantially higher costs. Others have higher rates of death.
There is substantial variation in the safety and quality of care provided in Australian hospitals. The data can tell us why.
The most common reason for choosing private hospitals is shorter waits for elective surgery.
Around a quarter of people with private health insurance still choose to use the public system. Why?
Hospital designs and practices were set in concrete many decades ago.
For many patients, hospital may not be the best place for their care.
The Commonwealth is telling the states to fix their own hospital budget problems, as though state governments can simply find savings from other areas.
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.
Clinicians prioritise patients based on the urgency of their treatment. But there’s more to it than that.
Waiting for emergency care, specialist appointments and "elective" procedures is not only inconvenient and frustrating, it can also be painful and detrimental to your health and well-being.
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.
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?
The solution is not necessarily more of the same, or more funding.
In a time of growing populations, hospitals must guarantee access, ensure quality, minimise the chances of anything going wrong, and do it all within the available budget. So they need to change.
What are the most common reasons for going to hospital? What can go wrong? What's behind the state-Commonwealth funding fight? Our at-a-glance infographic has the answers.
The 2016 increases range from 3.8% for the Doctor’s Health Fund, to just under 9% for CUA health Fund.
The 5.6% increase amounts to the average family paying about $300 more a year for an average policy.
The scene for change has been set. But will the health minister act?
We start 2016 with big challenges for the health system and uncertainty as to how governments will meet them.