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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.
New modelling shows the Medicare rebate freeze will leave GPs A$8.43 worse off per consultation. DIBP images/Flickr

High cost of GP rebate freeze may see co-payments rise from the dead

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. 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.
Discussions about Medicare’s sustainability under the Abbott government have only concerned how much we spend on the health sector. AAP/Joel Carrett

Abbott redux needs to revisit ‘sustainable’ health spending

The Abbott government “reset” yesterday provides a valuable opportunity to reconsider health policies based on the idea that Australia’s health system is unsustainable. But first it will need to embrace…
Non-concession patients may end up paying a A$30 to A$40 co-payment, not a A$5 one. Pete/Shutterstock

$5 Medicare rebate cut could cost patients up to $40 more

The Christmas-New Year silly season gave Australia three health policies. At the start of December, the policy from the 2014 budget was still on life support. But in mid-December, then-health minister…
We need a plan to provide patients with the right care at the right place in the right time. AAP/Alan Porritt

Shaping 2015: Time to go back to the drawing board on health

As the 2015 parliamentary year approaches, The Conversation is examining five key policy areas that have a new minister in charge: health, immigration, defence, social services and science. Today we begin…
The AMA described the proposed reimbursement changes for level B consultations as “an assault on general practice”. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

The AMA and Medicare: a love-hate relationship

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has emerged from the recent brouhaha over the Abbott government’s proposed Medicare reforms as both a winner in the protection of doctors’ incomes and an apparent…
A blueprint for Medicare reform must include cost control, but also support quality and equity. Dave Hunt/AAP

New funding models are a long-term alternative to Medicare co-payments

The Abbott government is struggling with its Medicare co-payment reform, scrapping the latest version for a period of consultation, starting this week. The government claims it wants to make Medicare sustainable…
The Coalition government’s proposed changes to Medicare have never managed to garner public favour. AAP/Peter Boyle

Autopsy of a dead policy: government shelves impending Medicare change

The government has backed down from its plan to cut Medicare rebates to doctors, which was to start on Monday, January 19, after several days of public pressure. For those not au fait with the world of…

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