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The Australian Health System Simplified

The Constitution decrees:

The States are responsible for the Public Hospitals .The states are also responsible for the administration of Public health, Medical licensing, as well as the overall administration of Nursing services, Ambulance, and State emergency services.

Funding for these services has always been a problem, as with any Government service.

A person’s health has always been considered their own responsibility, unless they fall into difficult financial circumstances. Since the beginning of settlement in Australia the Public hospitals with the help of the Medical and Nursing professions have always maintained a world class standard, and provided care for the needy as well as for the general population. People that can afford services in hospital were always expected to pay for that service, just like any other service. There was a means test to make sure that happened. This system worked well for decades and despite what some politicians said about people being denied health care, this simply did not happen.

The problem all along has been the waiting list for elective procedures. The waiting lists are manipulated solely because of funding.

The Health Insurance Act was introduced into Federal parliament simply as a political manoeuvre to gain votes. Insurance as such must take into account risk rating, there is no risk rating within the HIC[health Insurance Commission].

This legislation also known, as "medicare" is simply an accounting system to pay for medical services provided to patients from a doctor with a provider number?

People are totally misled by the politicians who claim it is a health system. The tax that is paid under the guise of medicare covers less than 10% of health costs. Therefore because this tax only covers <10% of health costs why should all and sundry be entitled to free access to the Public Hospital system. They should only be entitled to 10% of the services provided in the Public hospitals. The other ridiculous situation with medicare is that there are no inbuilt barriers to overservicing and overutilisation .The major function of medicare is to simply process bills. Where is the efficiency of processing thousands of accounts less than $30? How many hands must a GP’s consultation bill of $25 pass through to render a cheque back to the GP through the mail.

The real problem with medicare is that is a complete misnomer, it is grossly inefficient, it covers less than 10% of the health costs, it is too expensive and there are so many better alternatives.

General Medical care in Australia is the most efficient of any country in the world, it is cheaper than any other system [the average cost PER AVERAGE STAY in a PRIVATE hospital is only $2333.]

People need real insurance only for catastrophe i.e.for major medical or surgical problems. Catastrophic insurance is very inexpensive for the majority of people. It is less than $500 per year for the majority.

Australia has had a system of Health Funds for many years. They are based on a principle of Community rating i.e.all people in the Fund pay the same premium independent on their age, sickness, or health status. This is an excellent system if every one in the community is in the Fund.The system breaks down when only the aged and infirm belong to the Fund.This is one the major faults with our "health system".

This has happened now and is the reason for the Health fund’s dilemma. They are distracting their failure onto the Private hospitals and the Medical profession. The government has caused the "Gap"and it has nothing to do with the profession.

The Government knows that there must be a Means Test in Public Hospitals so that Pensioners and others are treated quickly and expertly.

In summary the Health funds are rapidly going broke. Medicare is lost in administrivia and a simple system whereby Medical Savings A/C s are introduced.

Each person in Australia should have his or her 1.5% tax entered into a separate A/C at his or her bank of choice. When a bill is received pertaining to health their Medical EF-post card is given and the money automatically transferred.30% of accumulated money up to a limit buys catastrophic insurance. A system similar to this operates in Singapore.

It is imperative that we as a nation improve the present incompetent system.

Mervyn Cross

HEALTH SYSTEM OF THE FUTURE

 

 

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