The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission’s final report should be available here from about 1030 this morning.
Will it go off with a big bang or a big fizz?
I’m hoping for a big bang, but perhaps that is more than a touch naive, given all the preliminary reportage suggesting otherwise.
A bit of tinkering at the edges – a prod here and a poke there – just aren’t going to produce the sort of seismic shifts that all the evidence suggests we need.
John Menadue wrote some suggestions for what he’d like to see in the report – but doesn’t expect to – in this piece published in Crikey on Friday (based on his submission to the Senate Community Affairs Inquiry into the Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives Bill 2009 and two related bills, available here.)
Of course this report from the NHHRC isn’t the be-all and end-all. We still await the recommendations from the Preventative Health Taskforce and the group producing a national primary health care strategy, and these may, in many ways, be both more important and interesting than those from the NHHRC.
It makes you wonder why we couldn’t have one over-arching report incorporating all aspects of health and health care. Instead there will be three sets of recommendations to integrate and juggle. The image of an overwhelmed juggler doesn’t seem to fit with the image of the strong arm that’s needed to drive health reform.
Did you see the ad on page 14 of the Weekend Australian? Blinded by Labor, it blared. The Australian Society of Ophthalmologists protesting against Federal Budget cuts to cataract operation rebates.
You need more than a sure arm in health reform. You also need deep political will. We shall see….