As part of our series of rolling posts from the #AusVotesHealth Twitter festival, we report on key public health concerns, including poverty, inequities in oral health, unhealthy marketing, obesity and much more.
Dive into the summaries below of the discussions, which have been trending nationally for much of the day. And read our previous stories: Introducing the Twitter festival and Powerful arguments for shifting health investment to the top of the cliff.
Public health policy
Malcolm Baalman, Public Health Association of Australia
Are climate change and health our most important public issues right now? Get beyond a phony climate policy war, we need action! Food security, health equity, environmental health and other health issues all depend on action on climate change.
So much more needs to be done to prevent obesity and all the diseases it leads to. Good ideas for action are already known – thanks @OPCAustralia! Keeping kids healthy must not be a political afterthought; should be at the core of our ‘health system’
Far too much unhealthy advertising is being fired at kids on unhealthy foods, sugar-added products, alcohol, gambling – even tobacco industry. Stopping ads to kids is an inexpensive and effective option for governments.
.. State governments can act on unhealthy advertising to kids too – like Queensland govt a few weeks ago – @StevenJMiles.
Great that action on mental health – the precursor to many other forms of health and wellbeing – is getting bipartisan attention in the current Oz election. Differences of policy between major parties, but so important that all govts support and invest.
… also, there should certainly be a dedicated federal minister for mental health, making the agenda happen. Are all parties committed to that?
Alcohol industry self-regulation isn’t working. It’s a farce. A majority of Australians are concerned about marketing alcohol to kids. Time for action; more health promotion and limits on ads that lead to harmful drinking.
We need to do much more on the health of Indigenous Australians. It’s good to see that both major political parties (and of course the Greens and many other parties and candidates) see the urgent need for action and investment.
… and it’s essential that governments work through Indigenous community organisations. Genuine multipartisan commitment by all our politicians will be needed to Close the Gap!
Here’s a summary of PHAA’s key health issues that the next Australian government should focus on: https://www.phaa.net.au/documents/item/3373 … … illness prevention, protecting kids, health promotion, Indigenous health, climate health
Time to end unhealthy energy systems? Let’s transition to renewables seriously, quickly, or the growing climate crisis will damage all our health. Let’s not wait for more fires and floods, illness and diseases. 2019 is decision time.
New polling presents a clarion call for increasing awareness of alcohol and potential harms AND CONTROLS on advertising, price and availability
Getting us active?
Fixing health inequalities makes everyone healthier
So great to focus on the important policy discussions the community is entitled to know, as others want to talk about baseballs hats, vests and running shoes!
We need big, smart investments and action in preventive health. An essential step is placing a tax on sugary drinks and reforming alcohol taxes, and reinvesting the funds raised in health prevention and early intervention. Over $3b pa.
It is time for a universal dental health scheme! ALP policy an excellent step towards. Cf Coalition dental commitment is a real cut. Need investment in public dental to double the number of people receiving public dental health services. Immediately.
ALP dental scheme for Age Pensioners welcomed by many. But also highlights the thousands denied dental services, because of cost, including people on Disability Support Pension, Newstart, Parenting Payment. Waiting, often in pain, for public dental.
The Private Health Insurance Rebate has to go. It is costly ($6 billion) and doesn’t live up to promise of taking pressure off public health system. Funds better spent in the public health system, improving our hospitals and funding our health system.
Stark difference between major parties right now! ALP major investments in public health services. Coalition massive tax cuts (most to high end) & decline by 3/4 in real growth in health (0.7% pa vs 3% in previous years). https://www.acoss.org.au/media_release/election-2019-big-tax-cuts-mean-big-change-how-will-our-future-be-funded/ …
We would like to start our contribution to the #AusVotesHealth twitter festival by acknowledging the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, as we are tweeting from Gadigal land today.
ACOSS is an advocate for action to reduce poverty & inequality and the peak for community services in Australia. Our vision is a fair, inclusive and sustainable Australia where all people can participate in and benefit from social and economic life.
Although Australia’s health system is based on a model of universal healthcare, people on low incomes or who live in disadvantaged or isolated communities experience particular problems accessing services readily available to other Australians.
A number of health issues need highlighting this election. The first is inadequate investment in preventive health. Investment in preventive health and supporting people to adopt healthier lifestyles would save significant future health care costs.
This investment in preventive health could be funded by a tax on sugary drinks and reforms to how alcohol is taxed. These reforms would also reduce harms from overconsumption of alcohol and sugary drinks
We also need to highlight lack of investment in dental for people on low incomes. The lack of public dental care incurs a cost in our health system and impacts people’s ability to live their lives, including to eat, work and engage in their communities.
Poverty and health problems go hand in hand. The appallingly low rate of #Newstart is a health issue. Find out where your candidates standing on Newstart.
ACOSS recommends the abolition of the Extended Medicare Safety Net, which costs $500 million a year and is driving up medical costs, and reinvesting the savings in the public health system.
We are also concerned about rising out-of-pocket costs and the impact this has on access to services for people on low incomes who are more likely to experience poor health. The Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN) exacerbates inflation in health costs.
Despite being a significant component of health expenditure, the Private Health Insurance Rebate fails to take pressure off public hospitals. We could redirect $6 billion into the public health system by abolishing this rebate.
ACOSS recommends that as a first step on the way to a universal dental scheme, we make dental care affordable for all, by doubling the number of adults able to access public dental services.
ACOSS has published an election tracker to show where the parties stand on the issues, including health. You can check it out at https://www.acoss.org.au/2019-election-policy-tracker/ …
Oral health, on the agenda
Dr Chris Bourke, National Oral Health Alliance
Nearly three million Australians, more than 11 percent of the Australian population, do not have a fluoridated water supply. Extending community water fluoridation requires Commonwealth support for local water supply authorities.
Dentistry is efficient and effective at alleviating pain caused by dental diseases; it is also effective at restoring oral function after damage caused by disease or trauma.
Multiple barriers to accessing dental treatment including out-of-pocket costs, geography, physical access, availability, institutional racism, lack of cultural safety, health beliefs, anxiety and fear.
The intensive and time-consuming nature of dental treatment makes it costly; the WHO has nominated dental disease as the fourth most expensive disease to treat.
Dental treatment is described as a large financial burden for 11 percent of Australians. People in low income households are much more likely to avoid having a recommended treatment due to cost than people in high income households.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in both Australian adults and children. Nine out of ten Australians have experienced tooth decay, and three in ten Australian adults have untreated tooth decay.
The social determinants of health have a profound impact on tooth decay. Children from the lowest socio-economic areas have 70 percent more decay than children from the highest socio-economic areas.