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A new coalition for health reform?


In an era of active health reform, what might we expect from the new Australian Government?

Health systems around the world are grappling with many common challenges: rising costs and finite resources; the growing burden of chronic and lifestyle-related diseases; ageing populations; emerging technologies; and information-rich consumers with high expectations. Each nation’s approach to tackling these challenges is influenced by its history, societal values, legacy health systems and political environment.

Australia’s health system is in an era of active reform, but the journey is far from over.1 The election of the new federal Coalition government is an opportunity to advance reform with a new focus aligned with the Coalition’s priorities for our nation. So what might those priorities be in relation to health?

Three broad policy themes articulated by the Coalition could form the practical and philosophical foundations for significant reforms in the health sector. First, Prime Minister Abbott has declared his desire to be the “infrastructure Prime Minister” by investing in nation-building projects.2 Second, the Coalition has promised strong fiscal management and national debt reduction. And third, Coalition policy continues to…