Category Archives: Health

How inefficient private health insurance, drug manufacturers and distributors drive up costs.

In parliament, forty years ago on 27 September 1967, Gough Whitlam described the factors driving up the high cost of healthcare in Australia. The same vested interests drive up costs in Australia at the expense of the taxpayer and the … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Who said this and when.

Private health insurance is unfair and inefficient. It was because of this that the Whitlam Government established Medibank/Medicare.  

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JOHN MENADUE. Cricket – alcohol and junk food.

Cricket has a dangerous relationship with alcohol and junk food.  

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IAN WEBSTER. Standing up for Medicare.

Fair access to health care is in the zeitgeist of European countries and Australia. The political sensitivities of this issue were demonstrated in the last election with the angst generated by the Labor Party’s “Mediscare” campaign.

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TIM WOODRUFF. How universal healthcare is being undermined.

The Medicare rebate freeze is one strategy in that agenda. Reducing the Federal Government’s share of public hospital funding is another. Reducing the support for public dental care is another. Promoting private health insurance in primary health care is another.

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LESLEY RUSSELL. The impact of private health insurance on equity and access in specialist healthcare

Most specialists charge fairly and reasonably, but there is clearly a need to name and shame those who are over-charging and over-servicing to ensure a level playing field for the good guys – and to protect, respect and care for … Continue reading

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JOHN THOMPSON. Privatising Medicare by stealth.

Like the frog in hot water, Medicare’s privatisation by stealth can only result in an unfortunate end – despite the current government’s protestations of innocence.  

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HAZEL MOIR. Evergreening of patents and the cost of pharmaceuticals.

A low standard for granting patents can mean lengthy delays generic medicine availability. In one case this is shown to have cost taxpayers almost $A3 billion extra in Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme outlays. A solution is to grant patents only for … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The National Party is silent on rural poverty and poor rural health.

Country electorates have the most disadvantaged people, the poorest health and inferior health services.  But the National Party does very little about it.

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Castro’s legacy. Cuba’s achievements in health have been remarkable.

In the article from The Lancet, Arjun Suri points out that despite spending one tenth per capita of what the US spends on health, Cuba’s infant mortality rate is better than the US and that the two countries have equivalent … Continue reading

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IAN WEBSTER. Amid chaos, ethics.

Speaking particularly of the treatment people in Manus and Nauru, Professor Ian Webster argues that in this secular and chaotic world, the values and principles of the professional codes of health workers could be used to frame their future contributions … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Donald Trump – a false prophet and implications for Australia.

  Trump prides himself in being a change-agent, but he really wants to restore the past and protect privilege. He will also do a great deal of social damage. Analysis of the US election tells us that many American ‘working … Continue reading

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ANDREW PESCE. The Health Care Home: too important to fail

  It has been a long road for peak medical organisations in Australia to publicly recognise and support the concept that Fee for Service payments (where medical services attract a Medicare rebate for attendances and/or procedures) may not always be … Continue reading

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BRUCE ARNOLD. Testing the body politic? Lobbying by the pathology industry.

  Pathology testing in Australia is big business, getting bigger as the population ages and we rely on high-tech medicine for intractable ailments. Advocacy by commercial interests and government pathology service providers shapes public policy. It potentially affects elections rather … Continue reading

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JENNIFER DOGGETT. Seven Key messages in Health.

  This week the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released its Health expenditure Australia 2014–15 report. This document contains a wealth of information about the way in which we allocate resources across our health system. There are many interesting stories … Continue reading

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ARTHUR CHESTERFIELD-EVANS. Compulsory Third Party insurance in NSW- a Bad System about to Get Worse?

  CTP, Compulsory Third Party insurance (Green Slips) in NSW are looking increasingly like a scam. In theory, if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident that is not your fault, all ‘reasonable and necessary’ treatment is currently paid … Continue reading

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SUSAN RYAN. Older women – the new homeless.

  It is more than timely that focus on increasing inequality in Australia include recognition of a massive contributing factor: the lack of affordable housing, especially for older women. Several groups have been identified as severely disadvantaged by the lack … Continue reading

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Blood money: pathology cuts can reduce spending without compromising health

In the coming weeks I will be posting articles on the high costs and corporate nature of pathology in Australian. The following article by Stephen Duckett in The Conversation, even though posted in February this year, helps set the scene. … Continue reading

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PETER YOUNG. Unlike Jim Molan, We must not look away from the harm we are causing.

  Monday’s Q&A gave a good insight into the philosophy and principles behind Australia’s Sovereign Borders Policy as described by one of its chief architects Jim Molan. Most telling was his argument that the means of maintaining tight border control … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Preferential treatment for private patients in public hospitals in NSW.

See below a poster from NSW Health which is being displayed in public hospitals in NSW. Readers may be interested to comment. Two things interest me. The first is that the advertisement infers that if you have private health insurance … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Dental Care – Medicare – Private Health Insurance.

  Funding a Medicare dental scheme instead of the subsidy to PHI.  The PHI subsidy of over $10 billion p.a. would be much better spent on a Medicare dental scheme. In the following article Jennifer Doggett in Croakey, reports that … Continue reading

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DAVID CHARLES. Venture Capital and Start Ups – Is Berlin an example for Australian capital cities?

  During a visit to Berlin in mid September this year I was struck by the way the venture capital and start up scene in Berlin had shifted from being something of an exotic hothouse flower to one of the … Continue reading

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STEPHEN LEEDER. Review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

  The Medicare Benefits Schedule, or MBS, is the basis for Medicare payments made for medical care in the community. It runs to over 900 pages and contains 5,700 items. Well over $2Ob pass through its ledger each year. It … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. The Mounting Case For A Royal Commission Into Banks And Insurance Companies

An overwhelming majority of Australians support a Royal Commission into the finance sector. Ian McAuley explains why. We’re paying too much for a bloated financial service sector.A prominent example is Australia’s largest health insurer, Medibank Private, which in the last … Continue reading

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PETER WHITEFORD. The $4.8 trillion dollar question: will an ‘investment approach’ to welfare help the most disadvantaged?

  Social Services Minister Christian Porter on Tuesday released a report on the lifetime costs of the social security system for the Australian population, putting it at close to A$4.8 trillion. The report was an initiative of the 2015-16 budget, … Continue reading

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The creeping Americanisation of Australian healthcare.

In this blog, I have repeatedly posted articles about the threat to Medicare in the $11 billion pa. subsidy which the Australian government provides to support private health insurance companies in Australia. We are sleep walking into the destruction of … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. ‘Aunty, with our prospects in life – what is the point of being healthy?’

  The ABC Boyer Lecture series this year is being delivered by Sir Michael Marmot, the World Medical Association President and Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London .The main thrust of his lecture series has been … Continue reading

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PATRICK McGORRY. We must settle the refugees before it is too late.

In this article in the SMH, Patrick McGorry, the President of the Society for Mental Health Research, says; The time has come, before it is too late, to re-settle these fellow human beings and not just the children, but all … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Medicare, Private Health Insurance and the ALP

In my article, ‘Down a different path in Melbourne: how Medibank was conceived’ written in 2000 for the Medical Journal of Australia (see link below), I described the history from 1967 to 1975 which led to Medibank/Medicare.  In that article, … Continue reading

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WALTER HAMILTON. Minamata Remembered

  This year is the sixtieth anniversary of the methyl mercury poisoning in Japan that caused ‘Minamata Disease’. Shocking images of victims captured by the American photographer W. Eugene Smith (his Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath perhaps the best known) … Continue reading

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