The myth of a Budget crisis is comprehensively exploded by health economist Professor Jeff Richardson at The Conversation. Professor Richardson demonstrates that ‘it’s entirely possible for spending on health to rise more rapidly than GDP and for the amount of non-health GDP to continue to rise’ and argues that either the Government has got its figures wrong or that it is looking for an excuse to justify its ideologically-based decision to introduce new health payments.
Also at The Conversation, Professor Jim Hyde discusses the expected closure and/or merger of a number of health agencies, including the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Independent Hospitals Pricing Authority and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Professor Hyde discusses the implications for future health policy, accountability, Commonwealth-State relations and the potential conflicts of interest that could arise as a result of this move.
A new website is being set up to record information from consumers and other stakeholders about their experiences with co-payments for health care. When launched, this site will allow all Australians, including health consumers, patients, carers, health professionals and health organisations to share their stories about the impact of the proposed GP co-payment. More information about the co-payment here, here and here. Follow the campaign on Twitter at @CoPayStories
The AMA provides its perspective on a range of likely Budget initiatives, including the GP co-payment, the closure of a number of health agencies and possible workforce reform measures, such as those recommended by the Commission of Audit. Of particular concern to the AMA is the possibility of an expansion of the roles of nurses and pharmacists which it says would result in a ‘strong backlash’.
Of course, don’t forget to play Budget Bingo as the Treasurer delivers his address (just how many times can he urge us to join him in some ‘heavy lifting’?) with your choice of beverage, bearing in mind the recent research showing that the purported health benefits of red wine are not perhaps as great as previously thought(!)