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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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Listen up, health officials – here’s how to reduce ‘Ebolanoia’

Claire Hooker and Julie Leask write: An epidemic disease such as Ebola brings suffering to more than those who get ill or die. Social and economic threats can actually outstrip the medical ones. The outbreaks of SARS in 2003, for example, cost the world economy some US$40 billion, partly as a result of highly disputed [...]

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Indigenous smoking program cuts risk widening the gap

Kristin Carson writes: Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and early death among Indigenous Australians, with smoking responsible for about one in every five deaths. Among Indigenous Australians, tobacco use contributes to 80% of all lung cancer deaths, 37% of heart disease, 9% of all strokes and 5% of low birth-weight babies. And in central Australia, rates of [...]

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Worried about the flu season? Here’s the story behind the figures

Heath Kelly writes: Tuesday’s reports suggesting a particularly severe flu season could easily be overstating the case. The figures, released by Influenza Specialist Group say there have been more than 20,000 cases of flu nationally so far this year, double last year’s number. The release highlights the fundamental problem with trying to get a picture of [...]

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More than a health issue: addressing the social determinants of obesity

Lareen Newman and Michele Herriot write: Almost two-thirds of Australian adults and one in four children are overweight or obese. Excess weight is responsible for 7,200 deaths each year in Australia, as well one in five heart attacks, half of diabetes, and other problems such as reproductive complications and back pain. Economically, obesity costs Australia A$38 billion a year, through more [...]

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