tip off

The real health issues facing NSW, without the spin

Andrew Wilson writes: What happens when you bring a state health minister face-to-face with her two main challengers, fronting a roomful of health experts, without any TV cameras or dictaphones to leap on any “gaffes” or stumbles? What you can get is a genuinely informative debate, largely free of three-second soundbites. I saw this late [...]

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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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FactCheck: can you change a violent drinking culture by changing how people drink?

Peter Miller writes: “You can’t change a culture by simply changing drinking. It is, of course, justifiable to explore the effectiveness of small measures such as advertising restrictions, increases or decreases in price, relaxation or restriction of hours, but such things tinker at the margins of culture and it is doubtful that they will alter [...]

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For real health reform, turn the spotlight on specialists’ fees

With thanks to The Conversation for allowing us to cross publish this piece by Lesley Russell. By Lesley Russell, University of Sydney The impact of specialist fees on government and patient budgets has received little reform attention. This is despite the government’s push for controls in health-care spending and growing evidence of the affordability problems faced [...]

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Queensland health has a better outlook, so who deserves credit?

Andrew Wilson writes: It’s a sign of how much has changed in a few years that health has barely featured in the Queensland election campaign, despite being one of the issues that voters still say they care most about. That doesn’t mean that everything has gone smoothly in Queensland health over the past three years. But [...]

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The AMA and Medicare: a love-hate relationship

Lesley Russell writes: 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 champion of the affordability of health care for patients. [...] 

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New funding models are a long-term alternative to Medicare co-payments

Peter Sivey writes: 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 by controlling costs. However the proposed reforms are piecemeal and inequitable, antagonising Medicare’s stakeholders [...]

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Should scientists work with industry on alcohol policy?

Kypros Kypri writes: It’s undeniable that there’s an irreconcilable conflict of interest in the alcohol industry being involved in developing health policy. And by participating in meetings involving industry representatives, scientists risk giving credibility to a fundamentally flawed process that’s unlikely to produce sound policy. Let me explain why this is with examples of two [...]

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Indigenous Australians can take pride in disability policy gains

John Gilroy and Nicholas Biddle write: The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD), December 3, is important for commemorating the successes and efforts of the disability rights movement. The theme this year is Sustainable Development. Along with other Indigenous peoples worldwide, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have much to celebrate. At the same time, [...]

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China’s ‘white gold’ infant formula rush comes at a public health cost

Karleen Gribble and Julie Smith write: Alongside this week’s announcement of a free trade deal between China and Australia came reports of Gina Rinehart’s investment in a Queensland dairy operation to supply infant formula to China. Australia’s richest woman built her fortune on iron ore, but Rinehart’s A$500 million investment makes her a major player in [...]

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