Thursday, September 10, 2015

2016 Budget -Parliament Back And The World Looking A Bit Dodgy At Present. The G20 Are Pretty Nervous About World Economy.

September 10 Edition
The big news this week  continued to be market turmoil which seems to have eased a bit (maybe) but certainly has not have finally stabilised as yet. This is not good for the Budget or our super accounts! It may be Mr Hockey has an increasingly real problem too with some calling for him to go.
Budget Night was May 12, 2015. We now await economic and  activity data reporting to see how successful it was. Interestingly there are some early indications the small-business stimuli might be working. Certainly JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman seem to have been doing well recently.
The pollies all come back Sept 7 for another 2 weeks followed by another 2 weeks in October if I read the calendar right.
Well at least it is Spring! You can tell as the birds are waking up earlier each day and the daily top temps seem to be slowly rising!
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Here is some other of the recent other news and analysis.

General Budget Issues.

Tony Abbott being urged to consider dumping Joe Hockey and calling a March election: cabinet ministers

Date August 31, 2015 - 7:10AM

James Massola

Political correspondent

Cabinet ministers say Prime Minister Tony Abbott is being urged to dump Joe Hockey as Treasurer if the Canning byelection goes badly for the Liberal Party.
And an early federal election, to be held in March 2016, is also being considered at the highest levels of the Abbott government.
Fairfax Media has been told by two cabinet ministers that talks over axing Mr Hockey have been held, with a move to sacrifice the Treasurer designed to shore up Mr Abbott's own leadership and quell a potential backlash after the September 19 poll.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison, who is widely considered to be one of the government's star performers, would likely be elevated to the Treasury post and Mr Hockey would be offered another portfolio.
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Tony Abbott has no option but to stick with Joe Hockey

  • The Australian
  • September 1, 2015 12:00AM

Peter Van Onselen

To borrow from Mark Twain’s famous quote in The New York Journal in 1897, reports of Joe Hockey’s political death are greatly exaggerated.
The Treasurer and Tony Abbott are tied at the hip and there really is no changing that.
Yesterday’s Fairfax papers reported that cabinet ministers were urging the Prime Minister to remove Hockey ahead of an early election. On Sunday News Corp papers carried an opinion piece by Samantha Maiden declaring that the Treasurer simply must be replaced.
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Abbott government dumps Labor's bank deposit tax at cost of $2 billion in lost revenue

Date September 1, 2015 - 5:59PM

Lisa Cox

National political reporter

The Abbott government has walked away from a plan to impose a tax on bank deposits, a proposal that was expected to deliver revenue of $500 million a year. 
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey announced on Tuesday the government would not proceed with the tax, a move Mr Abbott said was "good news for the people of Australia".
"The last way to make our banks strong, the last way to protect depositors, is to hit banks with more taxes. That's the Labor way. It's not the Coalition's way," Mr Abbott said.
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Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey announce scrapping of bank deposit tax

  • September 01, 2015 3:45PM
·  Lanai Scarr National Political Reporter
  • News Corp Australia Network
THE government will be forced to find an extra $1.5 billion in revenue after scrapping the bank deposit tax.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey made the announcement today to drop the tax, following a meeting of Cabinet in Canberra.
The axed tax was first proposed by Labor in 2013 but was still written into Mr Hockey’s budget this year.
It was estimated to bring in $1.5 billion in revenue over the forward estimates.
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Joe Hockey’s faith in figures holding up — so far

  • DAVID UREN, COMMENT
  • The Australian
  • September 3, 2015 12:00AM
Joe Hockey is right: the economy is surprisingly resilient in the face of plunging export prices and investment by resource companies.
Business conditions, as measured by surveys, have been much healthier than suggested by the national accounts, while employment has also been holding up.
Consumer spending is muted but solid enough to keep business going, while the fall in the value of the Australian dollar is helping companies face competition from imports and gain export markets.
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  • Sep 3 2015 at 12:15 AM

The only growth in Tony Abbott's economy is government spending

by Chris Bowen
If you'd listened to Treasurer and the Prime Minister recently, their so-called economic plan for Australia is working, the economy is powering ahead with "real momentum". Yet Wednesday's National Accounts confirm the opposite. Economic growth is slowing and living standards are falling.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics' quarterly GDP figures showed that in June Australia grew only 0.2 per cent. This is a hugely disappointing result, and well below market expectations. Growth is less than one fourth of what it was in the March quarter. The paltry annual growth rate of 2 per cent is well below what is needed to ensure that people can find the jobs they need to support their families.
Making matters worse, growth would have been negative if there had not been a spike in government spending. Yes, this is not a typo. The economy under Hockey and Abbott would have gone backwards if it wasn't due to higher public spending. I'm sure I don't need to spell out the irony.
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Deposits and guarantees

Joe Hockey has given the banks what they asked for

In his brief stint as treasurer in 2013, Chris Bowen proposed a levy on bank deposits of a twentieth of a percent per annum. During the GFC, in 2008, the government had announced it would guarantee bank deposits of up to $1 million (later scaled back to $250,000). The proposed levy would function as a kind of insurance premium to fund that guarantee: the money raised would be stashed away in a special fund to be cracked open in case of a bank collapse.
The levy was scheduled to begin at the start of 2016 and, while the money it collected would in principle be quarantined, that money – estimated at some $500 million a year – was counted as revenue in the budget. When Bowen announced the scheme, the banks were clearly unhappy that they’d “have to pass this on to customers”. Whether they had to or not – between them, the big four banks posted after-tax profits of almost $30 billion that year – the banks have been steadfast in insisting that they would pass the cost along.
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4 Sep 2015 - 5:46pm

Hockey says Aussie dollar not too weak

Treasurer Joe Hockey says Australia can cope with a dollar that continues to fall as Australia was always a beneficiary of better export prices
Source:
AAP 4 Sep 2015 - 4:53 PM  UPDATED YESTERDAY 5:46 PM
Treasurer Joe Hockey says the Australian dollar, now sitting below 70 US cents, isn't too low.
Mr Hockey said he would leave judgment of fair value of the Australian dollar to the markets.
But many Australian exporters had struggled when the Australian dollar was near parity with the US dollar, he told Bloomberg Television from Turkey where he's attending a G20 finance ministers' meeting.
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Yesterday's budget jam risks leaving the cupboard bare

Date September 4, 2015

Jessica Irvine

Senior writer

"One day the oil will run out."
And so begins the mission statement of the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund which today is worth more than $US800 billion, despite global market ructions.
Norway's fund – formerly the Government Petroleum Fund – was set up in 1990 as a place to stash supersized revenues from state-owned and other oil companies.
The Norwegian government can only access earnings from the fund – assumed to be about 4 per cent a year – to top up its budget. [The fund is, interestingly, forbidden from investing in Rio Tinto, because of concerns about "severe environmental damage"].
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Joe Hockey is right: Economy is neither wonderful nor woeful

Date September 4, 2015 - 3:57PM

Ross Gittins

The Sydney Morning Herald's Economics Editor

COMMENT
Joe Hockey is right. The economic news is hardly wonderful, but the media's attempt this week to convince us the economy was perilously close to recession was sensationalist nonsense.
What set them off was news from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' national accounts that real gross domestic product grew by just 0.2 per cent in the June quarter. What they forgot to mention was that in the previous quarter it had grown by 0.9 per cent.
As Hockey says, the figures "bounce from quarter to quarter". But why let that small fact get in the way of a good scare story?
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Tough times ahead for economy, but no one's using the 'R' word yet

Date September 4, 2015 - 8:00PM

Jessica Irvine

Senior writer

The internet didn't exist the last time Australia slid into recession.
Since the 2013 election, joblessness has risen, real wages growth has evaporated and government debt has ballooned. 
Margaret Thatcher was in power in Britain. The Berlin Wall had fallen, but there was no European Union.
At home, a young Tony Abbott had just ditched his job writing editorials for The Australian newspaper to become press secretary to Opposition leader John Hewson. A year out from university, Bill Shorten was yet to join the payroll of the ACTU.
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Hockey and co want to elevate the rich and crush the poor

Date September 3, 2015 - 6:40AM

Warwick Smith

Joe Hockey accidentally reveals the fundamental truth of the Coalition government: it thinks poor people are scum.
In a political system based on spin and obfuscation, clarity and honesty are rare indeed. This is why recent talk of throwing Joe Hockey to the wolves is worrying. When Hockey tells Sydneysiders to get a good, well-paying and secure job if they want to enter the property market, he is telling us what this government really thinks. If you don't have a job that pays much better than the average wage then you don't deserve to own your own home. If the best you can do with your life is be a teacher in a public school or a nurse or a waiter then you're not worthy of his concern or interest. Get a better job, then come talk about your problems.
Hockey's unscripted moments of truth and clarity combine with his budget measures to leave us with no doubt that looking after those with wealth and privilege at the expense of those without is the overarching guiding principle of this government. Of course, he would have his own internal justification for this stance that would sound a lot less aristocratic but if exposed to critical scrutiny it would be unlikely to hold water. This, of course, is why such views are not exposed to public scrutiny except in those lovely moments when Hockey has a slip-of-the-truth.
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Health Budget Issues.

GST needed for health services, not federal income tax cuts, South Australian Treasurer argues

GST revenue must not be seen by the Federal Government as a way to offer income tax cuts, the South Australian Government says.
"It's a breach of the agreement between the Premier and the Prime Minister," South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis told 891 ABC Adelaide.
The SA Government said it would not agree to any rise in the GST which then let the Federal Government retreat further on funding its health responsibilities.
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Bureau of Health Information report shows huge jump in emergency patients

Date September 2, 2015 - 12:55AM

Amy Corderoy

Health Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

NSW emergency departments are overwhelmed by huge numbers of seriously ill patients, with doctors saying the system cannot cope unless hospitals are given more beds and funding.
The latest report from the Bureau of Health Information shows patient numbers have risen by 25 per cent over the past five years, while the time taken to treat some of the most seriously unwell has increased this quarter.
In some cases emergency patients – the highest level behind those who need immediate resuscitation – are waiting 50 minutes to start treatment, while on average 15 per cent of all ambulances get stuck in "bed-block", where the hospital is too full to take their patients.
3 Sep 2015 - 7:18am

Medicare billed a million times a day

Health minister Sussan Ley says for the first time ever Medicare was billed a million times a day last year, a 60 per cent increase in 10 years.
2 Sep 2015 - 9:42 PM  UPDATED 1 HOUR AGO
Australians are now billing Medicare more than a million times a day.
Health minister Sussan Ley said the annual Medicare figures for 2014-15 showed 21 million Australians accessed more than 368 million individual Medicare services.
That cost taxpayers more than $20 billion.
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Patients to do own check-ups under Coalition Medicare reform plan

September 3, 2015 12:00am
Renee ViellarisThe Courier-Mail
PATIENTS would be encouraged to perform D.I.Y health checks under a plan to obtain better value for taxpayers.
Testing blood pressure, some tests for diabetes, weight loss progress and ordering repeat prescriptions, all from the comfort of a patient’s lounge room, are being considered by a Federal Government review team.
Patients would inform medicos of outcomes and likely be contacted by a nurse if their results were concerning.
A patient on a weight loss program whose movement was being tracked by a smart device could also receive a gee-up if they had not done enough exercise. The plan, being developed by the Primary Health Care Advisory Group, is helping the Government reform how Medicare is funded, and better use technology.
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Medicare claims hit million a day as patient services grow

Date September 3, 2015 - 5:35PM

Sarah Whyte

Health and Indigenous affairs correspondent

Medicare claims have surged in Victoria and NSW over a decade, as patients demand more services, more often.
Nationally, Australians are now making 1 million claims a day as 21 million patients accessed 368 million services on the Medicare Benefit Schedule last financial year.
According to statistics from Medicare, there were 1 million new patients in NSW and in Victoria who claimed Medicare benefits in 2014-15 compared with 2004-05.
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More than money needed to reduce the expanding healthcare pressurised balloon

Date September 4, 2015 - 11:09PM

Amy Corderoy

Health Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

Ambos compare it to a chess set. A man in Marsden Park is bleeding profusely after an attempted suicide. A team of paramedics are on their way. But a call arrives at the control room: a heart attack in Rouse Hill. The car is diverted there. Another ambulance that could have gone to him had earlier been sent to Liverpool because no one was available there. Six others are out of action, knocked off the board while they wait to drop off patients at a hospital too busy to take them.
The ambulance control centre operators watch it all, call-takers on the phone reassuring anxious family members, while they try to move their pieces around. Each ambulance is a different colour on their screen depending if they are at a scene, travelling or stuck in a hospital. Often, a third or half their screen is brown - the colour for ambulances waiting at emergency departments. The ambos have a colourful phrase for this too: "Everything's gone to shit".
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Unnecessary procedures ripe for review

A new report has found that many Australians are undergoing unnecessary medical treatments, including treatments that have been found to be ineffective or downright dangerous.
The report, co-authored by Stephen Duckett at the Grattan Institute, focused on five treatments that should not be undertaken. Despite this warning, 6000 people have undergone those treatments in 2010-2011, or more than 16 people per day.
The five treatments that were identified included: hyperbaric oxygen therapy; the removal of healthy ovaries during a hysterectomy; laparascopic uterine nerve ablation for chronic pelvic pain; arthroscopic debridement for osteoarthritis of the knee and vertebroplasty for osteoportic spinal fractures.
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Health Insurance Issues.

30 Aug 2015 - 2:24pm

Govt welcomes Medibank Calvary truce

Health Minister Sussan Ley is hopeful of business as usual now Medibank and Calvary Health Care have ended their ongoing row and signed a new deal.
AAP 30 Aug 2015
The federal Health minister has welcomed the end of a dispute between Australia's largest private health insurer Medibank and Calvary Health Care.
After months of negotiations the pair has declared a truce, announcing on Sunday they've signed a new three year agreement.
It comes a day before the previous contract was due to expire.
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Australian Medical Association warns of secrecy shrouding contract deal between Medibank and Calvary hospitals

  • August 30, 2015 10:00PM
  • Sue Dunlevy - News.com.au
THE public must be told the terms of a controversial contract deal between Medibank and Calvary hospitals so patients know if the fund won’t pay for certain events, the AMA says.
Australian Medical Association president Professor Brian Owler says the secrecy surrounding the 11th hour agreement is “unacceptable”.
“Both sides have used their arguments about what is in the public interest and the interest of the wider health system and then to come up with an outcome and not tell the terms is not an acceptable outcome,” he said.
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Medibank Private, Calvary strike deal on ‘adverse events’

  • The Australian
  • August 31, 2015 12:00AM

Rebecca Puddy

The public stoush between Medibank Private and national not-for-profit hospital group Calvary was resolved at the weekend through an agreement that will introduce an independent umpire to judge fault.
The list of Medibank’s 165 “adverse events” for which it will not pay remains, but individual incidents included in the list can be challenged by Calvary to be examined by an independent clinical review panel to ­determine fault.
If deemed to be the fault of Calvary, Medibank will seek to recoup hospital costs and the ­patient will not be billed the outstanding amount.
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Why health funds put profit before people

  • Sue Dunlevy
  • August 31, 2015 12:50PM
The sale of Medibank has been a lesson in how privatisation puts profit before people.
As Australia’s largest health fund was attempting to slash payments to private hospitals in recent weeks, it announced a higher than anticipated profit and its managing director won an $850,000 bonus on top of his $1.2 million salary and the $750,000 bonus he got when the fund was privatised.
Welcome to the world of for-profit insurance where your exorbitant health fund premiums no longer help pay for your hospital treatment but instead help line the pockets of shareholders and managers.
While the health fund was trying to deny hospitals payment for falls in hospitals, death in childbirth and hospital acquired infections, it was paying its shareholders a 5.3 cent per share dividend.
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Pharmacy Issues.

Pharmacy ad cuts through

2 September, 2015 Chris Brooker 
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has won a national advertising award for taking its 'Discover more: ask your pharmacist' campaign directly to federal parliamentarians.
A video mailer that was sent to every representative of federal parliament displaying the value of community pharmacy recently won a prestigious industry award.
The video when opened played the Discover More commercial along with a message from Pharmacy of the Year 2014 winner Samantha Kourtis talking about the expansion of her services and asking for support for community pharmacy.
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Dud pharmacy training ‘a health risk’

  • The Australian
  • September 3, 2015 5:32PM

Andrew Trounson

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has warned that poor quality and fraudulent qualifications in community pharmacy are a potential health risk, with some ostensibly qualified pharmacy assistants not knowing basic information on the medicines they are selling — for example, that an analgesic is a painkiller.
In testimony this week before a Senate committee investigating vocational training, the guild slammed the national regulator for not cracking down on some providers delivering government subsidised qualifications in community pharmacy that its members complain have been delivered to people with little more than an information session.
The guild’s head of training, Sue Bond, said that she knew of one case where a woman had received a certificate III — which would nominally require 390 hours training — in just 20 minutes.
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It is going to be very interesting to see what happens to the polls and consumer confidence over the next 2-3 months with the present market chaos. I hardly see it improving in the short term.
Enjoy.
David.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, this has not stopped Australian Health services from purchasing EMR solutions that are neither affordable nor sustainable. Our public health bureaucrats' and IT Managers' love affairs with US hospital EMR products (EPIC, Allscripts, Cerner, etc.) must come to an end ...

From https://ehrintelligence.com/news/epic-ehr-implementation-leads-to-cerner-ehr-replacement

"According to the same report, UA Health Network's financial struggles in fiscal year 2014 were tied to the costs of the Epic EHR implementation prior to the eventual Banner Health acquisition:

The investment in Epic was so expensive that the UA Health Network experienced unprecedented operating losses in its 2014 fiscal year, including $32 million in unbudgeted costs.

The extra costs were due primarily to a delay in getting the system live and funding additional training and support, officials said at the time. It was supposed to be up and running by Sept. 1, 2013, but wasn’t operational until Nov. 1."

Anonymous said...

I think we and the west generally probably need a severe recession to clean out the public service dross and near criminal multinational consulting companies that appear to be drinking from an endless well of borrowed money and delivering very little. We are ignoring local innovators and not learning any lessons from what is plainly a very flawed strategy.

The government needs to do some very cheap governance and stop bank rolling snake oil salesman and paying incompetent quasi public servants huge salaries when they are clearly out of their depth. The whole process of government spending in health IT has set us back a decade and works against local innovators who don't even get a look in. We have lost our way with showers of easy money being vacuumed up. Someone modeled the ABC series "Utopia" on NEHTA. NEHTA just had a bigger budget!!

Anonymous said...

They could start by cleaning out the NEHTA PCEHR delivery executive and his principle Architect for a start, they have failed miserably and progress will not be made while that part of the organisation stubbornly exercises control rather than steerage. Conformance is the new laxitive, and quality is a dirty word, and they certainly know how to mock the term viable working solution.