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Predictions about demise of Medicare Locals are not good news for health or healthcare costs

The Federal Budget is looking like bad news for Medicare Locals – and this means bad news for the community’s health and the future of healthcare costs, says health policy analyst Jennifer Doggett. Below her article are links to recommended reading on recent health policy news – and some Twitter reaction to today’s headlines. Jennifer [...]

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Warning, warning – these are weird times when zombies are attacking the health system

In a sign of the general level of weirdness surrounding recent health policy debates, the AMA is calling on the Government to “put an end to the crazy policy speculation being floated in the media”. So weird and worrying are the signs, in fact, that Dr Tim Senior is fearing zombie apocalypse. And yes, you [...]

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Hospital workforce reform: better jobs and more care

Peter Breadon writes: Employees are the public hospital system’s most valuable resource, and its biggest cost. Wages account for nearly 70% of recurrent hospital spending. To keep hospital care affordable in a time of rising demand, it’s vital that skills are used to the full. Yet many professionals work well below their skill level. Does it take 15 [...]

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Rationing care vs increasing taxes – the health system sustainability myth

Stephen Duckett writes: In the lead-up to the May budget, the seemingly inexorable rise in health spending has unleashed a “sustainability panic”: rhetoric that health system costs are out of control and drastic measures are needed to make the system affordable. Sustainability panic is often used to justify shifting the burden of controlling health spending from the [...]

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Want Medicare savings? Stop paying for private hospitals

Peter Sivey writes: The polls this week suggest half of Australians think the Abbott government should reduce the cost of Medicare. My solution? Claw back some of the A$9 billion the government pays to private hospitals. Consider my experience … A few years ago I twisted my knee playing football. My GP, maybe after estimating my salary, suggested [...]

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The Health Wrap: tackling childrens’ health, food and alcohol industry dramas, and society’s obsession with dieting

  Melissa Davey Once you’re done with the Health Wrap, be sure to check out this Croakey round-up of health news to make you smile.   What about the children? Regulation of alcohol advertising is failing to properly protect children and adolescents, and in some cases is enabling their exposure to alcohol advertising, according to [...]

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Turmoil for Queensland doctors as contracts introduced

Many thanks to Trent Yarwood, specialist infectious diseases physician and member of the Far North Queensland Senior Medical Staff Association for this overview of the current disquiet amongst Queensland doctors. Trent writes: The move by the Queensland state government to shift the state’s approx 3000 senior doctors to executive-style contracts has been met with widespread  anger, including [...]

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Making the rich pay more isn’t the answer to a better Medicare

Stephen Duckett writes: Should the rich pay more for their health care? This question has raised its ugly head again after health minister Peter Dutton announced the Coalition government was considering more user-pays options – including a $6 co-payment for general practice visits – to get a hold on the rising health budget. The argument is that government benefits should [...]

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What does it take to drive regional health reform? Your chance to ask all about it…

I am delighted to announce that Carol Bennett, who has only just started her new job as CEO of the Hunter Medicare Local in NSW, after leading the Consumers Health Forum for five years, is in the chair at @WePublicHealth this week. It will be an opportunity to hear her thoughts on primary healthcare reform [...]

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For a better health system, we need to move beyond fee-for-service payments

Croakey has lost count of the number of contributors who have written here of the need to reform the fee-for-service model that underpins so much healthcare (for a recent sampling, see this by Professor Peter Brooks, and the comment here from Professor Stephen Leeder). Fee-for-service, it is widely agreed, is not an efficient mechanism for [...]

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