Seven steps to better health for Australia
Australia needs a 21st century health system which makes the most of the huge potential we have to advance care for all Australians.
“Health is a top issue in this federal election because most Australians are concerned about the future health care of themselves and their children,” the CEO of Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said in releasing CHF’s election platform:
“The principle of universal access that Medicare is meant to underwrite is becoming frayed. Many Australians already put off seeing the doctor or obtaining medicines because of cost. That would increase under present measures.
“It can be a struggle to obtain the right care in the community for a chronic disease or mental illness, or to get recommended elective surgery in a public hospital. It should not be this way. Australia has the health workforce and facilities to meet our needs but often our system fails to deliver to those most in need.
"What is required is a comprehensive blueprint for a consumer-centred system to replace the budgetary measures which currently deliver a fiscal result rather than a health system.
“A system which results in better targeted and integrated services for all Australians is a productive investment. It need not be a funding black hole. While some health costs may continue to rise, Australia’s medicines costs for instance, are billions of dollars lower because of generic products. Public hospital cost growth has also levelled out.
“It’s a matter of recognising that health is a national asset and that investing in it is to invest in our future productivity and prosperity."
The Consumers Health Forum’s seven policy targets to make the most of our health:
- Primary health: End Medicare freeze, invest more in primary health care, particularly Health Care Homes
- Health insurance: Develop simpler, standardised policies using PHI rebate as an incentive
- Out of pocket costs: No new co-payments; establish single safety net for Medicare and PBS.
- Health system: Reduce low value care, incentivise consumer-centred care, support health consumer organisations
- Mental health: Fund stronger, integrated health and community care
- Oral health: Include dental care in Medicare; commit to national oral health promotion
- Preventive health: Expand preventive health budget and introduce sugar tax