While the challenges facing the health sector are enormous, CHF continues its mission to work collaboratively with health consumers, our members and stakeholders to improve the viability and sustainability of the health system for all health consumers.
The current state of private health insurance in Australia is one prone to fragmentation and offering little value to consumers. Many insurance policies lack adequate coverage for even basic needs, yet consumers feel pressured to take out such policies in order to have some form of coverage. With premiums rising faster than many consumers can reasonably afford, lack of confidence and clarity in the private health insurance market risks stratifying consumers into the haves and have-nots. If left unchecked, this stratification would spell the end to the principles of universal access to health care that is the bedrock of the Australian health system.
An outstanding contributor to the Consumers Health Forum, Ainslie Cahill, has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of CHF in recognition of commitment to improving outcomes for all health consumers.
Dr Kym Jenkins, President Elect, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, presented the 2015 Christopher Newell AM Oration at CHF's Annual General Meeting, in which she spoke of the need to merge practices of mental and physical health.
CHF is concerned that the link between actual costs incurred and thresholds/rebates would be further weakened by the proposed legislation and this will be to the detriment of consumers.
Consumers and the wider community need to have a better understanding of what Medicare care is. CHF recommends a community awareness programme about Medicare and the MBS. We will get more judicious Medicare outlays when people are more engaged with their healthcare and healthcare choices through a greater appreciation of how much particular programmes and services cost.
Preventive health... a cure for the future
CHF does not support the proposed rescheduling of all codeine to Schedule 4 at this point in time. We do not think the delegate has given enough consideration to the significant system wide costs of the rescheduling or the loss of access to a range of medications that do have some benefits to consumers.
This edition contains a report of the highlights from our Members and Stakeholders Forum held in August 2015, as well as links to the presentations.
This review of the Guidelines is an opportunity to continuously improve the way PBAC assesses proposals and we see it as an opportunity to give consumers more opportunity for input into the process. If this potential is to be realised then there needs to be adequate resourcing provided to support consumers and consumer organisations to participate.