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 you will get superior service in a public hospital. That surely attacks the principle that in public hospitals patients are to be treated according to their therapeutic needs and not on the basis of income or private insurance. The former CEO of Medibank Pte proposed that PHI members should have priority in Emergency Departments.

The second is that there is an inefficient churning of public money. The Australian taxpayer provides $11 billion p.a. in a subsidy to private health insurance. This subsidy is apparently to be used in part to pay bills for private patients in public hospitals. How much more efficient it would be for the Federal government to abolish the subsidy and adequately fund public hospitals. This churning of money is a symptom of the division of responsibilities in health in Australia and in the inefficiency of private health insurance.. The administrative costs of PHI are three times higher than those of Medicare. PHI premium increases over the last decade have been double the rate of CPI.

 

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John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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