Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Macro View - General And Health News Relevant To E-Health And Health In General.

April 21  Edition
The macroeconomic stresses seem to have eased a little more with markets rising or stable around the world.
With Budget Night now May 3 we won’t have long to wait to see what is happening. The Budget now seems to now be very minimalist with any major reform seemingly off the table. It seems there is going to be some exciting political times until we get there!
Given it is only 2-3 weeks away I guess we just wait and watch. Is seems sin-taxes are also back on the agenda!
Here is a summary of interesting things up until the end of last week:
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General Budget Issues.

  • Apr 11 2016 at 12:15 AM

Bad timing for company tax cuts

The times could hardly be less propitious for cutting corporate tax rates. Malcolm Turnbull and his Treasurer Scott Morrison now look like postponing the cut foreshadowed in May's budget. They have only themselves to blame for the latest twist this paper reported on Thursday.  It is made no sense to raise – then dash – expectations of wide-ranging tax cuts in a budget stubbornly in deficit. Tony Abbott had the timetable right, deferring talk of big tax cuts until a post-election White Paper.
An OmniPoll showed almost no voter support for a company rate cut. That was before the Panama Papers revealed that a single law firm facilitated money laundering, tax avoidance and evasion on a vast industrial scale. The ongoing outrage adds to pressure for the government to do more to crack down on  use of tax havens before it cuts the company rate.
Life was so much easier for Paul Keating. He didn't lose much political skin when he lifted the company rate from 46 per cent to 49 per cent during Australia's "golden era" of economic reform in the mid-1980s. The rate then fell in a series of steps usually funded by scrapping corporate tax breaks – it's how John Howard cut the 34 per cent to 30 per cent.
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  • Apr 11 2016 at 1:45 PM
  • Updated Apr 11 2016 at 7:16 PM

Federal debt load 'pushing against' AAA boundary, warns NAB

The Commonwealth's growing debt load is rapidly approaching the point at which Australia will lose its AAA credit rating, warns a report by NAB.

Why NAB chair Ken Henry is worried
Two of the nation's big four banks have warned the federal government risks losing the patience of credit agencies, whose AAA rating for Australia has helped underwrite some of the lowest household mortgage rates on record.
With politicians likely to be tempted into new and underfunded spending promises in the looming federal election, National Australia Bank's global head of policy research, Peter Jolly said Commonwealth debt was now "pushing against ratings agencies' AAA boundary".
Mr Jolly's remarks were echoed by Michael Blythe, chief economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, who said while the ratings agencies "have been very patient with us; there's a limit to their patience".
"The reality is that we've seen this continued pushing-back of the return to surplus, and even if we manage to get there on the current timetable, it will be the most drawn-out return we've seen," Mr Blythe told The Australian Financial Review.
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  • Apr 13 2016 at 11:45 PM
  • Updated Apr 14 2016 at 6:42 AM

Scott Morrison lays out budget priorities

Treasurer Scott Morrison says next month's federal budget is designed to help more Australians, especially young people, to get into work and off welfare and will invest in education, health and social services, "in a fairer and more sustainable way"
Outlining the aims of the budget to a closed dinner of the Business Council of Australia on Wednesday night, Mr Morrison said the budget would achieve these things in a manner " that taxpayers can afford – rather than higher taxes and higher debt".
"This is the budget that the Australian economy needs now", he said. "It doesn't matter when the election is held, this is the budget that we need to deliver. It will be a budget focused on clearing a path for jobs and growth."
The Treasurer's comments suggesting the government will invest in education, health and social services come despite the government appearing to be at an impasse over what it does about huge and politically contentious spending cuts to health and education outlined in the 2014 budget. Twenty per cent cuts to university funding remain particularly contentious.
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10:42pm April 13, 2016

Morrison gives clues about budget

By AAP
Treasurer Scott Morrison has provided a few clues about the federal government's upcoming budget in a speech to Australia's business leaders.
In a speech to the Business Council of Australia (BCA) overnight, Mr Morrison said his first budget will focus on keeping taxes low, include policies that would make Australia "more innovative, more competitive and more outward looking" and back infrastructure projects.
This is how the government will drive jobs and growth, the treasurer said.
"But it's also how you strengthen our nation's finances - by supporting the revenue gains that come from growth we have, rather than higher taxes," Mr Morrison told the annual forum dinner on Wednesday night.
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Moody’s warns Morrison on budget, triple-A rating

  • The Australian
  • April 14, 2016 3:49PM

Michael Roddan

Jared Owens

Treasurer Scott Morrison says comments by a global ratings agency are not a licence to start raising taxes to protect Australia’s triple-A credit rating.
Moody’s Investors Service says the Turnbull government’s preference for spending cuts over policies aimed at revenue raising will make balancing the budget difficult, warning that government debt would continue to climb and put pressure on the nation’s AAA-rating.
“The best way to protect our triple-A credit rating is to have a strong budget, a solid budget that is backing growth and that is backing jobs, and that is what out budget will do,” Mr Morrison told reporters in his southern Sydney electorate on Thursday.
The warning comes after NAB and JPMorgan both cautioned this week that Australia’s AAA credit rating could be in jeopardy unless the government maintains fiscal restraint in the upcoming federal budget.
Moody’s senior vice president Marie Diron said Treasurer Scott Morrison’s focus on curbing spending to the exclusion of revenue raising measures meant the government’s target of a balanced budget by 2021 would make it unlikely to achieve.
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Budget 2016: Cristopher Pyne talks up tobacco tax

  • The Australian
  • April 15, 2016 8:05AM

Jared Owens

Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has spruiked the economic windfall from levying “very high” tobacco taxes, amid speculation that Treasurer Scott Morrison’s budget will target smokers.
Labor is framing the budget fight as a debate over “choices” as he offers more spending on schools but also plans tax increases to raise $105 billion over 10 years, including $47.7bn by raising the price of cigarettes to $40 per 25-pack by 2020.
However the policy has been criticised by both Labor MPs — who fear the impact on poorer Australians, who are more likely to smoke — and Tony Abbott, who lashed the policy as a “workers’ tax” that could deprive seniors of one of their few pleasures.
Mr Morrison yesterday flagged “revenue measures” in the budget aimed at “reducing the tax burden in other parts of the economy, and wherever possible to continue to drive down the deficit”.
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Treasurer plays down budget tax hikes

Updated: 1:12 pm, Friday, 15 April 2016
AAP
Treasurer Scott Morrison has sought to play down speculation of tax hikes in his first budget, describing such talk as a little too enthusiastic.
Mr Morrison set the hares running on Thursday when he said the May 3 budget would contain 'revenue measures'.
That was taken to mean tax increases, including a hike in the tobacco excise and a crackdown on superannuation tax concessions on high-income earners.
Mr Morrison said his comments were 'entirely unremarkable'.
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15 Apr 2016 - 8:30am

What we know, and don't, about the budget

We're less than three weeks away from Scott Morrison's first budget and very little is known about what it might contain.
Source: AAP
15 Apr 2016 - 8:30 AM  UPDATED YESTERDAY 8:30 AM
WHAT DO WE KNOW?
WHAT WE KNOW
* There won't be a fistful of dollars as the government lives up to its promise of living within its means.
* Prudence, fairness and responsibility will be the catchwords.
* Measures will be included to boost jobs and growth as the economy transitions from the mining investment boom.
* The much-touted tax reform package will be included.
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One in two voters is fully reliant on public welfare

  • The Australian
  • April 16, 2016 12:00AM

Adam Creighton

Sid Maher

Nearly half of voters in the looming federal election will rely ­entirely on government payments for their incomes, confront­ing Scott Morrison with a demographic and political powder keg as he frames a May 3 budget ­relying on spending restraint to rein in the deficit.
Analysis by The Weekend Australian has revealed that more than 44 per cent of voters, almost 6.4 million people, are ­either public sector employees (1.89 million) or wholly dependent on federal government pensions, allowances and parenting payments (4.48 million). The figure grows further when private sector workers who receive more in welfare than they pay in tax are added.
The Coalition holds seven of the 10 most welfare-dependent seats in the nation while Labor holds three.
ANU researcher Ben Phillips estimated that only 43 per cent of the adult population excluding public sector workers were net taxpayers last year, bringing the actual total voter-dependency ratio to well over 50 per cent.
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Health Budget Issues.

Medical device makers slam ‘dishonest’ claims by health insurers

  • The Australian
  • April 12, 2016 12:00AM

Sarah-Jane Tasker

Australia’s medical technology sector has hit out at what it calls a “dishonest” campaign by private health insurers in their pursuit of price cuts to devices on the prostheses list.
Susi Tegen, chief executive of the Medical Technology Association of Australia, s aid the industry supported reform of the prostheses list and the private health insurance industry, provided it benefited patients.
The prostheses list, which the government uses to regulate how much health funds have to pay for prosthetics, human tissues and device implants, is being redesigned and renegotiated by the stakeholders who use it. The government is also reviewing the private health insurance sector.
Insurers claim high prices for items on the prostheses list — well in excess of what public hospitals pay for comparable devices — have added to premium increases. Funds lowered this year’s premium increase in light of the Turnbull government’s promise to review the list.
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Health reform data ‘is not accurate’

  • The Australian
  • April 12, 2016 12:00AM

Michael Owen

The key justification of the South Australian government’s overhaul of its health system — that “we’re killing a lot of people ­unnecessarily” — is not supported by reliable data, an independent review has found.
This comes as ALP national president Mark Butler yesterday called on the state government to halt its health plans for Adelaide’s western suburbs, saying it was undermining community confidence with “an unacceptable model and budget”.
The latest criticism of the controversial Transforming Health policy, which includes closing hospitals and the moving services, is a blow to Premier Jay Weatherill’s case for radical reform.
As justification, the Premier and his Health Minister, Jack Snelling, have relied upon alarming data in a Transforming Health blueprint that says “on average, South Australia experiences 500 more deaths each year in our hospitals compared with other hospitals across Australia”.
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Patients to shell out for scans and blood tests

April 14, 2016 5:00am
Bianca Keegan The Cairns Post
BLOOD tests, swabs or biopsies could cost patients up to $30 as pathology services prepare to be hit with Federal Government funding cuts.
The proposed changes, which would occur on July 1, would remove bulk-billing incentives paid to pathology providers to save the Federal Government $650.4 million over four years.
But president of Pathology Australia Nick Musgrave said providers would have no choice but to pass on the costs through a co-payment system.
“We just can’t absorb this cut, there will need to be some way of recouping the loss of payments,” he said.
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NPS MedicineWise says it has reaped $400 million in PBS savings

Michael Woodhead | 13 April, 2016 | 
NPS MedicineWise says it has delivered $400 million in PBS savings from its rational prescribing activities since 2010 and is now making inroads into MBS spending on pathology tests and imaging, its annual evaluation report shows.
The agency, which receives around $45 million annually in Department of Health funding, said it had achieved PBS savings of $69 million in 2015 and, for the first time, also achieved significant savings to the MBS of around $33 million, according to its latest evaluation report.
The MBS savings estimates were based on reductions in ordering of CT scans for low back pain and vitamin D tests following feedback sent to GPs as part of the Quality Use of Diagnostics program.
PBS savings the agency said came from programs targeting prescribing of anticoagulants, PPIs, opioids for chronic pain, antipsychotics, lipid-lowering agents and antidepressants.
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Health is also clearly still under review as far as its budget is concerned with still a few reviews underway and some changes in key strategic directions. Lots to keep up with here with all the various pre-budget kites still being flown - although narrowing it seems to be largely focussed on Super! Enjoy. Only a few weeks to the Budget.
David.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Parasites, one and ALL!