Thursday, July 14, 2016

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

July 14  Edition.
This is being written over the weekend and to date we seem to know that Malcolm Turnbull will remain PM with a level of majority that is yet to be determined. As of Thursday it is still unclear if the Reps Majority will be 1 or 2 seats.
Things are going to get very interesting as the Government tries to make Standard and Poors happy to help retain our AAA credit rating. This is going to be a pretty big challenge and may see all sorts of budgetary manipulation and tweaks to move us closer to budget balance. All the ratings agencies have now come out to say they really don't like the instability the tiny majority in the Reps and the rather complicated Senate might lead to!

Of more interest is the ongoing conversation regarding both the Government and Opposition Health people. Rumour has it we have a Ministry announcement on Monday so we will probably need to wait until then.
Here are a few things I have noticed.

General Budget Issues.

Federal election 2016: six months to fix the budget, PM told

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM July 8, 2016

David Crowe

The nation has been given six months to break a political deadlock on budget repair as Malcolm Turnbull gains certain victory in the federal election, igniting a fight over whether a fractious new parliament will act on the warning and cut the deficit.
The Prime Minister is sure of forming a new government after independent Bob Katter threw his support behind the Coalition, making it impossible for Labor to claim office even as a minority government.
Ending days of frustrating delay over the election result, Mr Turnbull secured an agreement with Mr Katter to back the ­Coalition on budget supply and motions of no confidence — the key tests in deciding executive power.
The move came as ratings agency Standard & Poor’s issued a brutal alert on the need for both major parties to act on the dangers facing the federal budget and overcome a stand-off on how to cut spending or lift taxes.
  • Jul 7 2016 at 7:44 PM
  • Updated Jul 7 2016 at 7:38 PM

AAA: Six months to get budget under control

A threatened downgrade of the nation's AAA credit rating was a wake-up call to the entire Parliament, not just the government, that debt and deficit needed to be reined in, Treasurer Scott Morrison says.
After ratings agency Standard & Poor's put Australia on downgrade watch, and then did the same to NSW, Victoria and the ACT,  a defensive Treasurer said the new government could not afford to woo disgruntled voters or independents with extra spending, and it was even more important that stalled savings be passed the Senate.
As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was in Brisbane securing the support of independent Bob Katter should the government fail to reach the absolute majority of 76 seats, Mr Morrison promised to protect the AAA rating by sticking to the plan to have the budget back in balance by 2020-21.
"I have no intention of postponing the pace of fiscal consolidation and so, therefore, I remain very determined to ensure that the warnings that are in this report are not realised," he said.
  • Jul 8 2016 at 7:34 PM

Election 2016: S&P ups ante on budget repair as Xenophon calls for new tax rate

Ratings agency Standard and Poor's has escalated its demands over what the government needs to do to protect the AAA credit rating while Senate powerbroker Nick Xenophon said he would be pressing for a permanent top marginal income tax rate of at least 50 per cent.
As the government claimed victory from the July 2 election, probably with its own majority, S&P drew a line in the sand on Friday, demanding the government "step up and deliver" and stick to its trajectory of balancing the budget by 2020-21 or lose the AAA rating.
This means that even if the economy falters due to factors beyond the government's control, such as falling commodity prices or a global downturn, the agency expects the government to keep cutting spending and raise taxes to offset any losses.
This flies in the face of recent assurances by Treasurer Scott Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann that they would only cut spending further to offset things they control – like making new spending promises. They have argued that chasing other revenue losses through higher taxes or further spending cuts would hurt economic growth and job prospects.
  • Updated Jul 8 2016 at 5:23 PM

Bananas, hot frogs and consenting adults; why $1tn in foreign debt matters

The inexorable rise in what Australian governments, companies and households owe the rest of the world has for 30 years been met with general indifference.
That may be about to change, say analysts concerned by the prospect that Australia is on the cusp of losing its coveted AAA credit rating.
For the first time since the "banana republic" days of the mid-1980s – when Macquarie Bank famously likened Australia's escalating reliance on offshore debt to the plight of a boiling frog – the spectre has re-emerged of a worrying national "twin deficit".
"The problem is that losing the triple-A status exposes Australian assets to the vulnerability of the twin deficits," said Vimal Gor, head of fixed income at BT Investment Management.

Federal election 2016: Malcolm Turnbull is a man with no plan, just a lot of flimflam

Date July 9, 2016 - 12:15AM

Ross Gittins

 Now it's likely the Turnbull government will scrape back to office, what's next? What will it do to improve our economic prospects?
Malcolm Turnbull went to the election offering a "national plan for jobs and growth" that was supposed to secure our future.
Trouble is, it now looks unlikely he'll be able to implement the centrepiece of that plan, the phased reduction over 10 years of the rate of company tax, from 30 per cent to 25 per cent.
Unsurprisingly, the proposed cut in company tax did not impress the voters, who think companies are paying too little tax, not too much.
Labor opposed the cut, save for the immediate reduction to 27.5 per cent for genuinely small business.

Health Budget Issues.

Election 2016: Sussan Ley’s Health portfolio under pressure

July 7, 2016, 4 p.m.
The future of Farrer MP Sussan Ley’s job as Health Minister is in the spotlight as the Coalition works to claim a majority in the federal election.
The Labor Party campaigned heavily around a platform of “saving Medicare” from privatisation by the Coalition.
Ms Ley has been criticised reportedly by fellow MPs, and heavily on social media, for not coming out strongly in defence of her party and Medicare.
She did not front any press conferences or issue any media releases on the topic, but was vocal on social media in the days before the election.
“Patients can be assured that there is no change to the Medicare rebate for tests and scans today,” Ms Ley said on Facebook on July 1.

Worried parents swamp emergency departments with coughs and colds

Date July 7, 2016 - 9:00PM

Julia Medew and Rania Spooner

Parents are bypassing GPs and swamping hospital emergency departments with children suffering from minor complaints, in a trend one expert warns would "break" our healthcare system within a decade.
The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne has recently been pleading with parents of children with minor ailments to see GPs after demand for its emergency department reached a record this year, causing some people to wait more than eight hours to be seen.
On Thursday, Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the hospital would receive extra funding to deal with the spike and to create a new 10-bed ward for low-priority patients. She urged parents to visit their GPs for low-urgency problems.
In recent Facebook posts, the hospital said as many as 290 children a day were attending its emergency department to enter queues as long as 83 deep. A large number of the children had "cough and cold symptoms", it said.

Federal election 2016: Medicare levy rise ‘should be on table’

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM July 8, 2016

Joe Kelly

Health experts say it’s time for a serious discussion about a Medicare levy increase.
Malcolm Turnbull is being urged to consider an increase to the Medicare levy as a range of health experts argue the tight election ­result indicates that voters are willing to pay more tax to buttress the public health system.
One of the architects of the Medicare system, John Deeble, said yesterday that Bill Shorten ran an effective campaign in ­elevating bulk billing as a core ­priority. He said the result showed Australians believed that “health is an important thing”.
Dr Deeble — who co-wrote the proposals in 1968 that formed the basis of the Whitlam government’s Medibank and the Hawke government’s Medicare — argued the Liberals had long been sceptical of Medicare. “They would have privatised it if they could have,” he said.

AMA chief wanted to hear more from Ley

Published: 3:33 pm, Saturday, 9 July 2016
The Liberal Party left the fertile ground for Labor's scare campaign on Medicare privatisation, Australian Medical Association President Dr Michael Gannon has told Sky News.
Dr Gannon stopped short of calling 'Mediscare' irresponsible, but said the 'scare campaign' was particularly effective.
'The Liberal Party left the fertile ground for the scare campaign,' he said.
'People were worried about co-payments...out-of-pocket expenses for basic blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds - they were worried about an increase in out-of-pocket expenses for pharmaceuticals.'

Superannuation Issues.

Federal election 2016: Super contributed to Libs’ poor result

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM July 9, 2016

Judith Sloan

To what extent did the superannuation changes announced in the budget contribute to the Liberal Party’s poor electoral outcome?
All week, Scott Morrison has peddled the line that superannuation was irrelevant. His argument is, in the 10 seats in which voters are most affected by the changes, the party held on. In half of the cases there was a swing to the ­Liberal Party. Let me tell you: the Treasurer’s remarks are just spin. The superannuation issue came close to ­derailing the Liberals’ campaign as floods of complaints were fielded; party resignations from longstanding members were reluctantly accepted; donations dried up; and previously willing volunteers refused to help in any way.
In NSW, there was such a shortage of volunteers there was little scope to offset the impact of unionists and GetUp! supporters brought in to urge a vote for Labor to the people waiting in line to ­record their votes.
But the impact did not end there. The raft of ill-considered and over-engineered changes that were announced out of the blue on budget night, just days before the campaign began, repre­sented a fundamental breach of trust for many Liberal Party supporters.
I look forward to comments on all this!

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