Category Archives: Health

PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 18 August 2019

A new report from the IPCC focusing on land and climate change draws together many threads from the environmental and social crises facing the world. CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are of course the major cause of global warming but … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Health, Politics | 3 Comments

ALEXANDER HOLDEN and HEIKO SPALLEK. Private Health Insurance Under the Lens: Dental Providers and Patients Should Contribute to the Discussion.

While Stephen Duckett’s and Kristina Nemet’s recently released Grattan Institute report “The history and purposes of private health insurance” predominantly deals with the medical part of private health insurance (PHI), many questions that are raised are of vital interest to … Continue reading

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MICHAEL THORN. Alcohol industry calling the shots on Australian health policy

Shocking scandals continue to roll through the media cycle, featuring abuse of power and influence by the addictive industries, and alleging corruption and worse. Who hasn’t read or heard about Crown Casino’s high roller operation or the ABC’s investigation into … Continue reading

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ANDREW PESCE. Patient Gap payments and Out of Pocket Costs. What needs to be done? Part 2

The first of this two article series quantified and explained out of pocket (OOP) cost in the Australian Health system. Some areas of OOP costs are acceptable and there is no need to intervene. OOP costs for non PBS pharmaceuticals, … Continue reading

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ANDREW PESCE. Explaining Gap Fees and their impact. What you knew and what you may not know Part 1.

There has been recent public and media focus on out of pocket (OOP) costs for Australians receiving health care, usually referred to as Gap fees. Minister Hunt recently announced his intention to establish a Website to publish doctors’ fees. This … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. Another hard to believe example of the weakness of our regulators in protecting consumers from healthcare fraud.

When I was much younger I often dipped into Ripley’s “Believe it or not” for a laugh, amazement and even enlightenment. I had a look at their website recently as I prepared to tell you a story that would fit … Continue reading

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CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. The Crown allegations show the repeated failures of our gambling regulators (the Conversation 30 July 2019)

Regulatory failure has been a hot topic in Australia recently. Royal commissions into the financial and aged care sectors have revealed major regulatory failures. The harm done by these oversights has been significant. Regulation is not just red tape. It … Continue reading

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MICHAEL GRACEY. Closing that Aboriginal Health Gap

The persisting poor health of Aboriginal people over decades is an embarrassing stain on our national reputation and one that seems obstinately difficult to erase. How can this situation be effectively managed?

Posted in Health, Indigenous affairs | 2 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Taxpayer subsidised Private Health Insurance is a political scam.

Stephen Duckett of the Grattan Institute has highlighted the growing and  serious plight of PHI as more and more  young people decide not to waste their money and are opting out of PHI. In response the CEO of NIB  in … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. The Coalition’s conflict of disloyalties on health.

The private health insurance funds have effectively been on notice for 50 years, since the time of the moon landing.  

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JOHN DWYER The crisis in Private Health Insurance arrangements in Australia are a symptom of our public health failures.

“Australia’s private health insurance (PHI) industry fears it is in a death spiral, and politicians need to rethink whether or to what extent taxpayers should continue to subsidise the industry” the Grattan Institute tells us as they call for a … Continue reading

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JENNIFER DOGGETT. Interpreting Medicare data and bulk billing figures (Croakey)

New Medicare data, released today, has prompted a statement from Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, claiming that “nearly nine out of 10 Australians visit their GPs without paying a cent” and a media interview where he played down the impact … Continue reading

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STEPHEN DUCKETT.  Private health insurance needs a rethink

Australians are dissatisfied with private health insurance. Premiums are rising and consumers are dropping their cover, especially younger people, who are less likely to need health services. Those who are left are more likely to use services, driving insurance costs … Continue reading

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MONIQUE ROSS. Why the Pharmacy Guild is the most powerful lobby group you’ve never heard of (ABC News)

It’s been called the most influential lobby group in Australia, and some believe it has the power to bring down a government if it really flexed its muscle.

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PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 30 June 2019

In the USA young people are trying to lodge a legal case against the federal government for failing to protect their constitutional rights, and health professionals are supporting them strongly. Indeed, frustrated at government inaction, health people are getting increasingly … Continue reading

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MICHAEL THORN. Dry July Sobriety Stunt is Unethical

There are many dimensions to the controversy around the shocking decision by cancer charity and fundraiser Dry July to partner with Australia’s biggest alcohol retailer Woolworths, but fundamentally it is unethical.

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KELSEY CHALMERS and LESLEY RUSSELL. The National Strategy to Reduce OOP costs: will price transparency work?

Reducing patients’ out of pocket (OOP) costs is a major issue for the health policy agenda. But what are the chances that solutions to provide real relief for patients will emerge?

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TONY BROE. What do Aboriginal Australians want from their aged care system? Community connection is number one (The Conversation, 19 June 2019)

The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is ageing at a much faster rate than the non-Indigenous population. Aboriginal Australians record high mid-life rates of multiple chronic diseases including heart disease and stroke, lung disease, and type 2 diabetes. … Continue reading

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PAUL KRUGMAN. Mar-a-Lago comes for the N.H.S. (New York Times 8.6.2109)

Probably everyone who followed Donald Trump’s visit to Britain has a favorite scene of diplomatic debacle. But the moment that probably did the most to poison relations with our oldest ally — and undermine whatever chance there was for the … Continue reading

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BERNARD MACLEOD Youth Suicide

Our new government is making the elimination of youth suicide a focus of health policy under Minister Greg Hunt. However, billions of dollars of investment over the years has failed to reduce the numbers of those taking their own lives. … Continue reading

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TIM WOODRUFF. Health Policy: Where to Now?

The recent election result was a major disappointment for those interested in improving the health of the nation. The re-election of the Coalition promises an ongoing increase in support for private health insurance as the Government continues its long-term agenda of … Continue reading

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LESLEY RUSSELL. Restraining the Free Market That is Specialty Medicine

The past week has seen a series of media articles about how some people must fund raise to cover the cost of expensive brain cancer surgery and a paper released from the Actuaries Institute, How to Make Private Health Insurance … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER An open letter to Minister Greg Hunt

  The majority of Labor’s plans for our health system were greeted with enthusiasm herein and elsewhere as they addressed major current inadequacies that diminish the equity and cost effectiveness of the health care available to Australians. Labor did seek … Continue reading

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CHARLOTTE PALMER. Is the Australian War Memorial a place of healing?

Dr Brendan Nelson, director of the Australian War Memorial, has defended the expansion of the Memorialas a way to provide a ‘therapeutic milieu’ for veterans and their families. Critics say the obscenely large amount of $498 million is needed, not … Continue reading

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PETER SAINSBURY. How do the parties’ environmental policies compare?

If climate change is going to influence your vote this Saturday you may want to know how the three main political parties’ environment policies shape up. Here are three scorecards to help you decide who to favour with your vote.

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IAN WEBSTER. US opioid epidemic: a warning to Australia?

Two ABC documentaries – ‘Opioid America’, Foreign Correspondent, 19th March and on TV Tonight, Louis Theroux, April 2nd portrayed the cycle of addiction in damaged US communities with no hope or future. Both were in West Virginia where opioid deaths … Continue reading

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FIONA ARMSTRONG. Health groups release climate policy scorecard: Coalition earns 0/8

The national coalition of health groups working for climate action, Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), has released a Federal Election Scorecard after analysing the parties’ policies on climate change and health. 

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RICHARD DAY Pharmacy Guild Out Muscles Government Again

Most medicines on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS) are for chronic, conditions that affect one in two Australians and include conditions such as hypertension, raised cholesterol and type II diabetes. Treatment invariably involves medications, often multiple, adding significant costs to … Continue reading

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ALEXANDER HOLDEN and HEIKO SPALLEK. Labor’s Pensioner Dental Plan: Long in the Tooth or a Novel Idea? 

A step in the right direction for Australia’s oral health? Following the release of the Grattan Institute’s report; Filling the gap: A universal dental care scheme for Australia, we have seen the Greens announce their policy of a universal dental scheme, “Denticare” … Continue reading

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Zali Steggall takes on Tony Abbott over hospitals-to-tax-haven deal (Michael West)

Tony Abbott has come under pressure from Warringah independent, Zali Steggall, over the Government’s decision to approve the sale of the new Northern Beaches Hospital, and 42 other Australian hospitals, to an obscure company in the Cayman Islands.

Posted in Health, Politics | 3 Comments