Health policy

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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 emotional appeals of the opposing views on vaccination are both driven by concern for children. World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr

‘No jab, no pay’ policy has a serious ethical sting

The plan to withhold payments of child-care and family tax benefits for unvaccinated children could cost non-compliant parents up to A$15,000 a year. But is it ethical to punish parents?
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.
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…

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