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Articles on Health rationing

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Although the Coalition is largely associated with this issue, Labor first introduced the Medicare rebate freeze in 2013 as a ‘temporary’ measure. AAP/Joel Carrett

Confused about the Medicare rebate freeze? Here’s what you need to know

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 harms from over-diagnosis and over-treatment mean that not everyone benefits from breast cancer screening. Ian Hunter

Breast cancer screening needs to make more than economic sense

A recent article in The Conversation’s Health Rationing series endorsed the government’s decision to extend the BreastScreen program to women aged 70 to 74 (from 50 to 69), based on the results of a 2009…
Based on current evidence, expanding these services is the right thing to do. Image from

A rational expansion of breast cancer screening

In the ninth part of our series Health Rationing, Stephen Duckett examines the government’s decision to extend the breast cancer screening program. As one of many pre-budget teasers, Health Minister Plibersek…
Health-services research can help work out how best to share the health-funding pie. Wout/Flickr

Who gets a piece of the pie? Spending the health budget fairly

In the eighth part of our series Health Rationing, Philip Clarke and Nicholas Graves suggest ways to make the health-care system more efficient and affordable. Who would want be the health minister? If…
Health rationing assessments compare different aspects of health such as pain, anxiety, mobility and social interactions – but what’s more important? Image from

Comparing apples, pears and hips: health rationing at work

In the seventh part of our series Health Rationing, Richard Norman and Rosalie Viney explain the controversial system governments use to decide what will and won’t be covered under Australia’s universal…
The health budget isn’t limitless: decisions have to be made about to how to allocate funding between competing choices. AAP/Dave Hunt

Health funding under the microscope – but what should we pay for?

In the sixth part of our series Health Rationing, Mark Mackay examines the latest think tank blueprint to rein in Australia’s rising health costs. But he warns that before funding models are adjusted…
Preventative health programs, like the one against skin cancer, aresuccessful and highly cost effective. Chelsea Nesvig

Focus on prevention to control the growing health budget

Australia spends more than $130 billion each year on health, approximately 9.2% of our GDP. The outcome of this and other investments is that our life expectancy puts us very high on the global “league…
The current fee-for-service model makes it difficult to contain costs and boost the quality of care. Image from

Phase out GP consultation fees for a better Medicare

In the fourth part of our series Health Rationing, Peter Sivey explains why it might be time to abandon Medicare’s fee-for-service model. Teachers aren’t paid a fee for each lesson they teach, nor are…
We require the largest amount of health-care dollars in the last 30 days of our life. Lee Haywood

A conversation that promises savings worth dying for

On the eve of a federal budget looking for savings, I would like to report a medical intervention that reduces suffering, can prolong life and dramatically reduces health-care costs. The intervention itself…
We need a more rational debate about how and where we spend our finite health budget. Image from

Explainer: what is health rationing?

HEALTH RATIONING – a series which examines Australia’s rising health costs and the tough decisions governments must make to rein them it. Any mention of the “R” word in health care immediately brings to…
The biggest and fastest-growing spending category in health is hospitals. Image from

Tough choices: how to rein in Australia’s rising health bill

With health costs rising and costly medical innovations on the horizon, it’s crunch time for health funding. In the lead up to the May budget, The Conversation’s experts will explore the options for reining…
Health services are ripe for evidence-based reform.

Six easy ways to improve health services

Each year $120 billion is spent on health services in Australia. But hardly any research is done to investigate whether this money is being used wisely. Only 2.8% of the funding for NHMRC project grants…

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