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Long-term investment for serious reform

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The AMA has delivered its Pre-Budget Submission 2018-19 to the Government and released it publicly while calling for a new era of big picture health reform.

In releasing the submission, AMA President Dr Michael Gannon said the Government had a rare opportunity for initiate serious health reform, due the culmination of a number of key health policy reviews.

But, he said, any reform will need significant long-term investment.

“The conditions are ripe for a new round of significant and meaningful health reform, underpinned by secure, stable, and sufficient long-term funding to ensure the best possible health outcomes for the Australian population,” Dr Gannon said.

“The next Budget provides the Government with the perfect opportunity to reveal its health reform vision, and articulate clearly how it will be funded.

“We have seen years of major reviews of some of the pillars of our world class health system.

“The review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) is an ambitious project.

“Its methods and outcomes are becoming clearer. Its best chance of success is if the changes are evidence-based and clinician-led and approved.

“A new direction for private health insurance (PHI) has been determined following the PHI Review.

“We must maintain flexibility and put patients at the centre of the system, but recognise the fundamental importance of the private system to universal health care.

“The Medicare freeze will be lifted gradually over the next few years.”

Dr Gannon said the Government needed to now look at all health policies as investments in a healthier and more productive population.

He said there was now a greater focus on the core health issues that will form the health policy battleground at the next election.

“There is no doubt, as shown at the last Federal election, that health policy is a guaranteed vote winner – or vote loser,” Dr Gannon said.

“Our submission sets out a range of policies and recommendations that are practical, achievable, and affordable.

“They will make a difference. We urge the Government to adopt them in the Budget process.

“Health should never be considered an expensive line item in the Budget.

“It is an investment in the welfare, wellbeing, and productivity of the Australian people.

“Health is the best investment that governments can make.”

The AMA Pre-Budget Submission 2018-19 covers:

  • General Practice and Primary Care;
  • Public Hospitals;
  • Private Health Insurance;
  • Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review;
  • Preventive Health;
  • Diagnostic Imaging;
  • Pathology;
  • Mental Health and the NDIS;
  • Medical Care for Older Australians;
  • My Health Record;
  • Rural Health;
  • Indigenous Health;
  • Medical Workforce;
  • Climate Change and Health; and
  • Veterans’ Health.

The submission can be found at ama-pre-budget-submission

It was lodged with Treasury ahead of the Friday, 15 December 2017 deadline.

CHRIS JOHNSON

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