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

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…
Fill your boots. Fruit and veg of the unprocessed variety. Garry Knight

Food fight: is business trying to game the five-a-day system?

We are on the brink of an important change in how we are encouraged to think about our diet. Britain’s health authorities are considering whether to allow processed or “composite foods” to carry the official…
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…
Things are looking up for Queensland health in a number of areas, including the repair of a failed payroll system for health staff and increasing local management of services. AAP Image/Dan Peled

Queensland health has a better outlook, so who deserves credit?

It’s a sign of how much has changed in a few years that health has barely featured in the Queensland election campaign, despite being one of the issues that voters still say they care most about. That…
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…
To understand public heath, you have to understand how the public lives. Commuters via STH/Shutterstock

To tackle inequalities, build health into all public policies

Many of today’s public health issues – diabetes, cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease – are strongly associated with social inequalities. Literature from across the world shows that gaps in income…
The big losers will be ordinary patients. Image Point Fr/Shutterstock

GP co-payment 2.0: a triple whammy for patients

In the May budget, the Commonwealth government proposed a A$7 co-payment for GP services and tests done outside a hospital. After seven months of fierce criticism, the government abandoned those plans…
Responses to small price signals may be more emotional than rational, but they’re real. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Real-life decisions: why price signals for Medicare are flawed

Amid last week’s furore over the on-again, off-again Medicare co-payment proposal, Prime Minister Tony Abbott emphasised during Question Time that his government wanted “to see price signals in the system…
Several private health insurers are trailing schemes to prevent their members' health deteriorating. DIBP images

Keeping people healthy is good for insurers' bottom line

Australia’s population is in the midst of considerable demographic change, with a proportional rise in older age groups. Medical successes can now save the lives of those who would have died from illnesses…
Australia’s health system is good, but it’s not perfect. Dan Peled/AAP

What can we learn from other countries’ health systems?

Health systems in all wealthier countries face similar problems, but their solutions are widely different. That should mean we can learn from other countries. To explore these differences, this week The…
The Dutch like their health system, even though they contribute to it from their own pockets. Bohbeh/Shuttersock

Creating a better health system: lessons from the Netherlands

Australia has a relatively strong health system by international standards, but it needs a makeover. To generate fresh ideas, The Conversation is profiling five international health systems that have important…
In the UK, surgeries are awarded points and additional funding for keeping patients healthy. emanueletudisco photography/Flickr

Creating a better health system: lessons from England

Australia has a relatively strong health system by international standards, but it needs a makeover. To generate fresh ideas, The Conversation is profiling five international health systems that have important…
Australia is just ahead on life expectancy; Singapore is ahead on infant mortality. stockphoto mania/Shutterstock

Creating a better health system: lessons from Singapore

Australia has a relatively strong health system by international standards, but it needs a makeover. To generate fresh ideas, The Conversation is profiling five international health systems that have important…
Most hospitals in Norway and Sweden are government-owned. Ariadna De Raadt/Shutterstock

Creating a better health system: lessons from Norway and Sweden

Australia has a relatively strong health system by international standards, but it needs a makeover. To generate fresh ideas, The Conversation is profiling five international health systems that have important…
Our life expectancy improvements essentially mirrored other comparable countries. Kristo-Gothard Hunor/Shutterstock

Australian health care: where do we stand internationally?

There is an old joke about one fish asking another about the state of the water and the other answering “what’s water?” When you’re immersed in something and that is your daily experience, you are not…
The US is the international outlier on returns on investments in health care. Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

Creating a better health system: lessons from the United States

Australia has a relatively strong health system by international standards, but it needs a makeover. To generate fresh ideas, The Conversation is profiling five international health systems that have important…

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