Australia’s plan for health rethink revoked by minister

Recent reports unveil government’s latest plans to push back an expert assessment confirming Australia’s health system as muddled and unfair.

The healthcare sector faces a death spiral if healthy and young people continue to revoke their cover, according to a paper on private health insurance issued by analysts of Grattan Institute, Kristina Nemet and Dr Stephen Duckett.

Owning to their statement an ‘unhappy mix of partially public and partially private health care in Australia has resulted into a system ‘riddled with inconsistencies and perverse incentives’.

As a result, a new framework is required with the government to decide whether the purpose of private system is to complement or to substitute public system, prior to considering further subsidies in order to save the health industry.

Taxpayer subsidies is estimated to be around $9 billion a year, including $6 billion for the private health insurance rebate and another $3 billion for inpatient private medical services.

According to reports, half of all Australians own a private health insurance which covers non Medicare services, including optical, dental and other allied health services, like physiotherapy, but cover half of hospital expenditure.

“These reforms include youth discounts, better access for people in the regional areas, easier to understand classification system for policies and better access to mental health,” reported spokesman for the Grattan.

“Work has already commenced with the healthcare sector to identify and implement the next wave of positive reforms for private healthcare to continue to improve the affordability and value for consumers and ensure the system remains sustainable.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt on the other hand is of the opinion that the government is making insurance simpler and more affordable. Furthermore, it also calls for a thorough examining of the industry which is conducted by the Productivity Commission. Based on reports, the Consumers Health Forum is also insisting on a Productivity Commission inquiry.

“There are suggestions that private cover facilitates ‘queue jumping’, providing access to care in public hospitals based on insurance status rather than patient need,” commented Leanne Wells, chief executive of Consumers Health Forum.

“Australians must ask whether we want to live with such a broken system.”

Australian Private Hospitals Association has also known to have criticised the report, by referring to the outdated context and failure of understanding the basics of private care.