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Father of Medicare dies

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Professor John Deeble AO, the man universally known as the “Father of Medicare” has died at the age of 87.

Most recently, Emeritus Fellow of the Australian National University, Sax Medallist, and Patron of the Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research – the research arm of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, of which Professor Deeble was a life member – it was his much earlier work that gave him nickname.

In 1968, together with Dr Dick Scotton, Professor Deeble co-authored the original proposals for universal health insurance in Australia.

He subsequently became the architect of the reintroduction of universal healthcare in Australia – Medicare – in 1984.

His other appointments included First Assistant Secretary in the Commonwealth Department of Health, Founding Director of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and from 1989 to 2005, Senior Fellow in Epidemiology and Adjunct Professor in Economics at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the ANU.

He was Special Adviser to the ministers for health in the Whitlam and Hawke governments, chairman of the planning committees for both Medibank and Medicare, and a commissioner of the Health Insurance Commission for 16 years.

In addition, Professor Deeble was a World Bank Consultant on healthcare financing in Hungary, Turkey and Indonesia, and for more than10 years to 2005, an adviser to the government of South Africa.