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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

economics of healthcare « Previous | |Next »
May 23, 2009

In his article in the weekend edition of the Australian Financial Review on the econmics of health care Tom Dusevic sums up his key point thus:

To put it plainly Australians have to get real about ageing and health costs. Who pays for them?What level of service can we afford? Who gets treated? ....Centre for Policy Development director John Menadue says that we need governments to explain to the public that w e can't have all we want in health care. Resources are limited....He believes that unless we effectively and fairly manage demand, our spending on health will continue to realise poor value for money.

Menadue points out that rationing of services already happens and he cites the examples of hospital waiting lists, the neglect of indigenous health and mental health patients.

Dusevic works in terms of the wave of demand for healthcare from an ageing population and the unlikeliness of there being a dramatic jump in the allocation of funds to health. Hence the shortfall in funding and the solution --rationing.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:55 AM | | Comments (11)


I'd imagine this is where people will watch to see if any changes in subsidies and rebates for private health will be returned to public health programs.

the next revolution in 'health' should have nothing to do with biomedical science. instead, enabling people to look after themselves (health literacy) must be the focus of investment. also, how we structure our societies, our economies and our lives are emerging as the most powerful determinants of population health. this warrants a rethink of our socio-political and economic frameworks. However, I fear that the powerful medico-pharmaceutical complex will do its best to stifle attempts to place control over our health away from hospitals.

I have to say that all the encounters with Medicare and the state hospital system I have had as well as my friends and family have been overwhelmingly net positive.

Are there really long queues? What for? Perhaps for geriatric care? If so, we should increase the Medicare levy.

There are queues for different forms of surgery and for hospital beds. There does need to be increased investment in public health care in Australia after the Howard decade. There are different ways this could be done.

Rudd's decision to retain Howard's heads of department and policy advisors means that he has kept up Coalition policy.

As a general principal we get better value from our health dollar by keeping the existing Australians active and independent. ie pay for cataract surgery, because blind people find it harder to live independently. Consider not spending money keeping seriously sick new borns alive. Ration expensive cancer treatments that will not appreciably improve quality of life or lengthen life.
Get real about euthanasia vs palliative care. There is no economic value in palliative care for those who want control over their lives and death.
Quality dental care is rationed to the prosperous suburbs in our major cities which leads to emergency cardiac beds being taken by patients with dental abcesses etc.
Change aged care hostel policies to stop racing sick inmates to public hospitals rather than calling the locum service and if need be let them die in the hostel. The widowed grandmother unable to stay in her own home and drive her car no longer fears death like the newly minted registrar.

Did anyone else see the euthanasia debate on Sunrise this morning. The final question Kochie asked was "Have you watched any of your nearest and dearest die [or in palliative care]"?

can't copy the Yahoo link so search
Sunrise channel 7
select latest program

* Tasmania's 'Dying with dignity' bill

You guessed it, the person proposing the bill has experience of death and the person opposing euthanasia from the Australian Christian Lobby had no experience

The Medicare instant rebate scheme is being advertised on the radio here. I don't know how it works.Has anybody used it yet? Is it a good system?

those kinds of rationing decisions will need to be increasingly made in the near future.

Rudd and Roxon have placed a greater emphasis on primary care and are rolling back the gatekeeping role of the AMA.

not I didn't see the Sunrise program. But I'm not surprised re the Christian lobby---it's a matter of moral principle for them. Experience is irrrelevant.

And the whole refusal to include dental is insane!

Ingrown toenails are fine, but gum disease is not.


Actually, it is the states who are responsible for funding and running public hospitals. And during the Howard years, due to the GST bonanza, both public hospitals and government schools received the greatest funding increases in Australian history.