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?
The government’s proposed changes are good, and evidence based, but whether they will work in practice is another thing.
Living with a chronic disease is hard work. Today the federal government announced its intention to “revolutionise" the way chronic diseases and complex conditions are cared for.
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.
Pathology is big business.
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The pathology sector in Australia is no longer a cottage industry. It is dominated by a handful of billion-dollar enterprises that analyse blood, tissue and other samples.
More than three in every four Medicare-billed pathology tests are analysed by one of two big corporations: Sonic Healthcare and Primary Health Care.
Industry consolidation and technological advances have completely reshaped the pathology industry over recent decades. But the way governments pay for pathology services hasn’t kept up.
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It will take more than shifting Medicare payments from one monolith to another to deliver true innovation.
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.
A significant proportion of the growth in Medicare costs has been driven by government policies such as items for new services and larger rebates.
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.
Consumers are often unclear about the benefits and exclusions.
Anyone who has purchased private health insurance or thought about changing policies knows the system is complex and confusing.
Australia’s century-old federation is under strain.
If Australia’s new prime minister wishes to lead a successful 21st-century government, he must tackle the rise in chronic disease and use data to constantly improve the system.
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.
Health Minister Sussan Ley has said the government’s consultations did not include a co-payment or a proposal to examine one.
After an extensive round of consultations with health professionals and patients, Health Minister Sussan Ley has announced that yet more work needs to be done to find solutions to Medicare's problems.
The government is effectively undermining the power of Medicare as a single payer and the role of Medicare as a universal provider.
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.
Medicare and private health insurance partly overlap for hospital entitlements. But nobody can purchase full coverage for health-care costs.
Any new such financing system would need to carefully balance competition and choice, with affordability of coverage and equal access to quality care.
Private health insurance is an expensive way to fund health care.
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Private insurance, by its very nature, suppresses price signals and encourages over-servicing and cost escalation.
The relationship between private health insurance and Medicare has been a problem since the Whitlam government introduced universal health care.
Some people balk at the cost of private insurance – especially the relatively young and healthy – because they don't see the value of it when they are already covered under Medicare.
How much do Australians pay for private health insurance?
Dental care is the most-used private health insurance ancillary service.
All Australian residents have access to Medicare, so why do half the population also decide to take out private health insurance?