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    Gavin Mooney

    I agree that this is an important issue and do not disagree with your ideas, Jeff – just two added points on (1) level of funding; and (2) how to fund.

    1. You write: “As a general premise, health funding would be better used to provide more health services where they are needed, not in subsidising patients to travel to locations where the services already exist.” Yes but given limited funds we cannot have as locationally accessible facilities in rural and remote areas as we do in the metropolitan areas so (as you say) we have subsidies for travel. But these subsidies are a much cheaper option than the option of providing the facilities locally. It is these options that need to be more often compared and against a background of asking ‘who is subsidising whom?’

    2. The Danes have a voluntary church tax which is used to maintain Danish church buildings, very often in rural areas. Many Danes, importantly not just church goers but also non church goers, value the churches that adorn the Danish country side. In somewhat similar fashion, many Australians (most of whom live in metropolitan areas) would I think be prepared to pay a voluntary tax to provide greater equity in health care for those in rural and remote areas and thus contribute to the PATS scheme. But rather than have me speculate on this why not test it?

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