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HEALTH REFORM |

Unhealthy haste? What are the implications of outsourcing Medicare, PBS claims and services?

Less than two weeks ago the Federal Government called for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from the private sector to provide claims and payment services for Medicare (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), a $29 billion operation currently managed by the Department of Human Services. The EOI closes this Friday, 22 August. Such a privatisation [...]

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HEALTH REFORM |

“The accidental logic of health policy in Australia” – some progressive ideas for reform

A new book aims to provide an antidote to policy failures arising out of “an ideology built upon faith in markets and a distrust of governments”. The authors of the health chapter, Professor Fran Baum and Professor Judith Dwyer, summarise below their contribution to Australian Public Policy: Progressive Ideas in the Neoliberal Ascendency.  “Overall, our message echoes [...]

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HEALTH REFORM |

How inequality creates complex health and policy challenges

In the fourth edition of his crowd-funded Wonky Health column, Dr Tim Senior examines evidence from around the world about the health needs of disadvantaged peoples, reporting that poorer people tend to develop more complex medical problems and at a younger age than richer people. While this is a critical area of policy that needs addressing, [...]

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HEALTH REFORM |

AHCRA Communique highlights the role of primary health care

In mid-July thirty-seven member organisations of the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) came together from around Australia for the National Health Reform Summit to assess the key needs and issues in the Australian health system. Sixty participants were challenged and informed by a range of stimulating speakers from diverse organisations and perspectives. At the [...]

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HEALTH REFORM |

“Primary care leadership needs to wake up and start a revolution.”

Australia is not the only country with a health system under pressure from rising health care costs and increasing demand from a growing and ageing population.  A spate of recent research and policy papers from Europe shows that this part of the world is debating many of the same issues that confront governments, policy makers [...]

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HEALTH REFORM |

2014 the year of the co-payment: lessons from the NHS

What can we learn from the UK’s recent experiments in primary health care about co-payments, economic incentives and the impact of creating barriers to access? Margaret Faux, from the University of Technology, Sydney, outlines some important messages for Governments and policy makers wishing to head down the same path as the National Health Services.  She writes:   This year two of the best among the developed [...]

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HEALTH REFORM |

GP co-payments – deregulation of the bulk billing market.

In this second of a series of posts about Medicare, Margaret Faux  looks at how perverse financial incentives, the increased financial pressure applied to pensioners and GPs and the lack of supporting infrastructure make the Federal Government’s $7 GP co-payment proposal a high risk venture.  See her first post here. *** Margaret Faux writes: The [...]

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HEALTH REFORM |

Frontline health, legal services, and what’s crucial behind them

The Federal Government talks much about shifting funding to “frontline services - where people need them”. It sounds obvious, until we look at what’s lost from the backline. In the first of two posts below, doctor and lawyer Dr Fiona Lander looks at new restrictions on law reform advocacy by community legal centres (CLCs). Noting the [...]

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HEALTH REFORM |

FIFO/DIDO workers and health services in rural & remote Australia

The rapid growth in the fly-in fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in drive-out (DIDO) workforce in Australia’s rural and remote areas has been accompanied by claims that FIFO/DIDO workers, particularly miners and other resources sector workers, place substantial burdens on rural/remote health services. This latest update from the Primary Health Care Research and Information Service examines the [...]

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HEALTH REFORM |

Action on the social determinants of health – views from inside the policy process

Australian politicians and policy makers still struggle to understand how to translate growing evidence around the social determinants of health  into policy action. Researchers Dr Gemma Carey and Brad Crammond have interviewed a range of politicians, senior past and present bureaucrats, government advisors and lobbyists to explore why and how that can be shifted. Their [...]

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