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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…
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…
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…
The government has changed its proposed $7 GP co-payment to $5 but the flaws underlying the policy remain. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Six things you should know about the co-payment scheme

The Federal government’s attempt to impose a $5 co-payment on GP services by regulation raises the same issues as its previous failed attempt to impose a $7 co-payment through legislation. The consequences…
If you don’t have a concession card and are usually bulk billed, you may face a A$5 co-payment, or more. Image Point Fr/Shutterstock

Medicare co-payment: what the changes mean for you

The Abbott government has scrapped its controversial A$7 co-payment plan and replaced it with a A$5 cut to GP rebates for patients over 16 without a concession card, and other rebate changes. The revised…
Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton announce changes to the government’s GP co- payment policy. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Back to the future with Coalition attacks on Medicare bulk billing

In the government’s latest “scraping away the barnacles” of unpopular and blocked policies, prime minister Tony Abbott and health minister Peter Dutton have announced they’re abandoning the plan to have…
Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott have presented a less controversial Medicare co-payment that should be easier to sell to the public. AAP/Lukas Coch

Co-payment compromise puts extra burden on doctors

The government has stepped back from its A$7 proposed co-payment for visiting the GP but still aims to skin the Medicare cat, putting the onus on doctors to send a $5 price signal to non-concessional patients…
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…
If the Abbott government is clearing the way for a bold reform agenda, the shape of the new direction remains shrouded in mystery. AAP/Dan Peled

Abbott government health policy needs a sharper focus

The Coalition entered the 2013 federal election without a health policy. After a year in government, it remains without one. While there has been activity in the health arena, there’s been little coherent…
The AMA proposal would wipe out 97% of the government’s $3.5bn savings. Newzulu/AAP

AMA co-pay plan: protecting the poor and GPs' bottom line

Bulk billing without restrictions has been a feature of the Australian health system since the introduction of Medicare in 1984. It is particularly important in general practice, as it means any Australian…
As the queue grows, small increases in waiting times soon turn into dramatic spikes. Fotoluminate LLC/Shutterstock

GP co-payment would increase emergency department wait times

The introduction of a GP co-payment could see average emergency department visits increase by between six minutes and almost three hours, new modelling shows, as more patients opt for free hospital care…
The new Extended Medicare Safety Net will no longer provide patients with protection against high medical costs. flickr:tanakawho

A new, simpler Medicare safety net… but with holes

Buried in the details of the health budget are some changes to Medicare not widely discussed in the last 36 hours. Just as important as the introduction of co-payments for medicines and GP visits are changes…

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