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GENERAL PRACTICE |

Are co-payments dead? Or is that the sound of Medicare’s last gasps?

Dr Tim Woodruff, vice president of the Doctors Reform Society, writes: The GP co-payment is dead. So said the Prime Minister as he made his third retraction on the issue six weeks ago. However, co-payments are far from “dead, buried and cremated” – and analyses of recent policy announcements suggests we are heading ever faster [...]

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GENERAL PRACTICE |

Private health insurance ‘carrot and stick’ reforms have failed – here’s why

Anne-marie Boxall writes: If your workplace is anything like mine, this week’s private health insurance premium increases might prompt conversations that go something like this: Can you believe our private health insurance costs $421 a month – and we are all really healthy! Some people baulk at the cost of private insurance – especially the [...]

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GENERAL PRACTICE |

How GPs balance the dilemmas of prostate testing: study results

The evidence suggest the harms of population screening for prostate cancer outweigh the benefits, so why does it remain so popular? It’s a complex issue, particularly for GPs who are on the frontline on decision-making, says Kristen Pickles from the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney. Pickles led a recent study of 32 [...]

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GENERAL PRACTICE |

Time for policy rethink as frequent GP attenders account for 41% of costs

Stephen Duckett writes: The Commonwealth government’s big idea for primary health care in the past year was to charge everyone who visits the GP a A$7 co-payment. The idea had many problems – it could have led to a blowout in emergency department demand; it was inequitable; and it may not have worked anyway. It has [...]

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GENERAL PRACTICE |

Why Private Health Insurance won’t improve our health

As highlighted by the Parliamentary Library, the introduction of private health insurance (PHI) into primary health care raises some significant policy and regulatory challenges.  In the following piece Dr Tim Senior expands on some of these issues and outlines implications of this move for population health, equity, health care costs and ultimately the future of our public health system.   [...]

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GENERAL PRACTICE |

Private Health Insurance in Primary Care: an overview of the issues

The GP co-payment may be ‘dead, buried and cremated’ but controversy over its primary health care policies is not over for the Abbott Government.  The introduction of private health insurance into the primary health care sector was flagged by previous Minister for Health Peter Dutton in a number of speeches and media interviews and was [...]

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GENERAL PRACTICE |

Primary Health Networks: key questions and challenges

While the media has been focussed on the Government’s proposed GP co-payment, there have been potentially bigger changes to primary health care progressing behind the scenes. The transition from Medicare Locals to Primary Health Networks (PHNs) may not appear significant, as the functions and objectives of both organisations are very similar. However, there are some [...]

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GENERAL PRACTICE |

What is the value of a Medicare price signal?

Health Minister Sussan Ley has re-affirmed the Government’s commitment to the GP co-payment, arguing that it is necessary so that people ‘value’ the health care they receive.  In the following piece, the Consumers Health Forum CEO, Adam Stankevicius, questions the Government’s association of price signals with value, given the fact that Medicare has provided Australians [...]

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GENERAL PRACTICE |

Choosing Wisely with The Naked Doctor

In his latest post for Croakey, The Naked Doctor, Justin Coleman, previews the Choosing Wisely campaign, due to launch in Australia in April.  This campaign focuses on cutting down the numbers of unnecessary medical tests and treatment and has been successful in the USA and Canada in reducing non-evidenced based interventions.  While a number of medical colleges [...]

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GENERAL PRACTICE |

Health policy reform: principles for reform & how to get there

It’s hard to pick where health policy will go now under the Federal Government, with a new Minister and the likely shift (mark 3?) on a GP co-payment – if not because they accept the evidence against it but because of the politics. But there was an interesting intervention in the lead up to this [...]

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