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

the health debate « Previous | |Next »
March 9, 2010

The health debate has been dominated by the media reducing health and well-being to hospitals and the state's resistance to the Rudd Government's reforms in the form of taking control of the funding of public hospitals. Their concern is for more money not that hospital care is integrated with primary care. John Menadue in his comments on this debate at the Centre for Policy Development that:

The [commonwealth] government is challenging, quite correctly, the special interests of state governments and their health bureaucracies. What is needed next is for the government to find the political will to challenge other stronger special interest groups, particularly among the providers - the AMA, the Australian Pharmacy Guild, pharmacy companies and the private health insurance funds. They have legions of lobbyists who dominate the public debate at the expense of a community that is effectively excluded and disenfranchised.

The current debate is still between the government (commonwealth and state) and the well-funded and well-organised special interest groups, and the community and its concerns is pushed aside.


Menadue's solution to the closed shop that excludes the community is for our health system to have its own independent body - a Reserve Bank for health--- an independent health commission with strong economic capabilities is necessary to facilitate informed public discussion, counter the power of special interests and determine programs and distribute Commonwealth health funds across the country.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:45 AM | | Comments (4)


Hi. I read a few of your other posts and wanted to know if you would be interested in exchanging

James Gillespie in Health reform: the opening shot at Inside Story says that the Rudd Government's plans for a National Health and Hospitals Network:

is just one – though the largest – piece in a complex jigsaw puzzle. We need to see the other pieces, but for the moment, it should be read as a political text: an opening set of negotiating positions with the states and territories and an attempt to establish the field of battle for the federal election, not the finished blueprint of a renovated health system.

He adds that politics and the 40 per cent of government health expenditures that go on hospitals dictate that any fundamental health reform must give serious attention to hospital management, efficiency and outcomes. For the moment we must wait for the further pieces of the jigsaw.

The Age says that federal Labor will soon vow to open 3000 extra hospital beds as the next step in its health reform blueprint. Rudd has also promised to hand bonus payments to public hospitals that cut waiting times for surgery and emergency treatment.

Gillespie is right when he says that Rudd’s plan is best seen as an opening shot in an extended war of position. Health reform at this stage is still about hospitals.