At the National Press Club today Peter Dutton and Tanya Plibersek go head-to-head on health policy. Croakey readers have suggested the following questions as ones they would like answered during the debate – journalists looking for some hard-hitting questions should feel free to pick up any of the following for the question time session after the debate.
Questions for Peter Dutton
What is the future of the Australian National Preventative Health Agency if the Coalition wins government? Will it continue in its present form, and if not what cuts and/or changes in function will be made? Marita Hefler, University of Sydney, News Editor, BMJ Tobacco Control
Have you read Ben Goldacre’s book ‘Bad Pharma’ ? If so, do you really think that fast tracking of a series of new, expensive medications is an appropriate priority? (If not, perhaps you should read it before introducing the policy!) Clinical pharmacologist Prof Gillian Shenfield
Do you guys have any policy imagination? Ian McAuley, Centre for Policy Development
What is the appropriateness of reinstating private health insurance rebates without a full review of the relationship between the private system and Medicare? The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA)
Which agencies are in the firing line for cuts? AHHA
How will the Coalition address increasing health care costs and out-of-pocket expenses? AHHA
How will the Coalition balance the activity-based hospital funding approach with support to community-based services, which keep people out of hospitals? AHHA
Questions for Tanya Plibersek
Why has Labor been so timid about promoting and defending Medicare – you even went so far as to see the growth in private health insurance as a positive achievement” Ian McAuley, Centre for Policy Development
What is your policy on the numerous, potentially confusing, brand names for the same active ingredients that can be bought in supermarkets with no professional advice? Clinical pharmacologist Gillian Shenfield
Questions for both Peter Dutton and Tanya Plibersek
It is vital that responsibility for Aboriginal health remains in the health department and is not transferred into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. We cannot go back to a situation where responsibility for health is back within a non-health literate bureaucracy. Will you ensure that Aboriginal health remains in the Health Department?
Dr John Boffa, public health expert
Despite welcome recent attention from governments of both colours, mental health’s share of the health budget is in real decline. What does mental health need to do attract your ongoing attention and financial commitment? When will governments commit to a world-class mental health system in the same way as they have committed to world-class cancer care? Sebastian Rosenberg, University of Sydney
Meanwhile Ian Hickie adds: Any comment or question about mental health would help at this stage!!!
In order to improve the understanding and use of medications by prescribers and consumers do you have plans to support more training positions for clinical pharmacologists? Professor Gillian Shenfield
Will the commitment to ten years funding to Stronger Futures be honoured? Chips Mackinolty
Will you commit to using evidence as a basis to inform all your policy changes and implementations, and will you commit to publish that evidence in a transparent analysis at the time of any policy announcements? Jim Hyde