Thursday, December 15, 2016

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

December 15  Edition.
In what will be the last review of the year we are forced to wonder about 2 things.
Globally we have to wonder how long the Trump reflation trade and activity will continue.
Locally we have to wonder just what can be done to fix a pathetically riven political system where advice on what is needed by Australia’s Chief Scientist is just thrown in the bin because it might be seen as a Carbon Tax but that would actually save consumers $15Billion a year.
We are sadly now living, apparently, in a post-fact, fake news, ideologically driven world where common sense has been replaced by drivel and nonsense. I genuinely fear for my grandchildren if we soon don’t get a collective grip on ourselves/
The fall in our national GDP of 0.5% was a wake-up call. We are not headed into a recession, unless something globally goes badly wrong, but we are also not coming anywhere near our potential as this article makes clear.
  • Updated Dec 9 2016 at 9:00 PM

Australia's lack of reform shown up as NZ hits record labour market level

The inability of Australia's political class to prioritise serious economic reform could now be hurting employment.
Just as the New Zealand Treasury announced its surplus on Thursday was going to be bigger than expected, the Kiwi workforce participation rate also hit a record 70 per cent, almost 6 percentage points higher than Australia. If Australia had the same rate, there would be an extra 1.1 million people in the jobs market.
New Zealand's lower marginal tax rates, more liberal labour laws, strong inward migration and growing economy means more New Zealanders are in the market for jobs.
"NZ's labor force participation rate is now 70 per cent, if we had Australia's participation rate our unemployment rate would be zero, and if they had ours their unemployment rate would be 13 per cent," ANZ New Zealand's chief economist Cameron Bagrie told AFR Weekend.
"The fact that you've got that sort of divergence is telling a very strong story in regard to divergent policy, particularly in the micro economic arena," Bagrie said.
"I think, philosophically, the NZ tax system has a broad base, low rate and they have a sense of fairness that is a bit different to ours, which is everyone should pay a bit," said partner at the KPMG Tax Centre, Grant Wardell-Johnson.
In contrast, an inefficient GST and extraordinarily high tax free threshold has compelled Australia to keep a high marginal tax rate. With the addition of an over-regulated industrial relations regime, job opportunities are now severely crimped compared to across the Tasman.
-----
As they say, and I said last week, ‘Dorothy, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore’. Might be good to be in NZ however!
-----
Here are a few other things I have noticed.
-----

National Budget Issues.

Former World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu sounds warning

Peter Martin
Published: December 3, 2016 - 12:59AM
The first industrial revolution could have turned out badly. That it didn't, that it created prosperity rather than destroyed jobs, has forever since given technophiles and free-market economists a licence to rubbish anyone who complains about jobs and incomes vanishing as a result of technology, even if they are right.
That's the concern of 64-year-old Kaushik Basu, an Indian economist and expert in game theory who was until a few weeks ago chief economist of the World Bank.
At Melbourne's Monash University this week to renew contacts before returning to Cornell University where he will specialise in macroeconomic research, he says the declining importance of paid work is one of the few things that worries him more than President-elect Donald Trump. In fact, he believes it's behind the rise of President-elect Trump.
-----

Australia should boost infrastructure spending to protect AAA credit rating, IMF says

By business reporter Sue Lannin
Updated December 5, 2016
Australia should borrow more to boost infrastructure spending to protect against a global economic downturn, even if it means a slower reduction in the budget deficit, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says.
IMF deputy managing director Zhang Tao told the ABC that more Government spending would increase growth and help protect Australia's AAA-credit rating.
Global credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's has threatened to downgrade Australia's top investment ranking if the budget does not look like it will return to surplus by 2020-2021.
-----

Hospitals, housing and dental services ripe for privatisation, says Productivity Commission report

Michael Koziol, Political reporter
Published: December 5, 2016 - 12:15AM
Public hospitals, social housing and palliative care services are ripe for privatisation, outsourcing and other reforms to inject greater competition into what have been public sector monopolies, the Productivity Commission has found.
But the influential commission also warned against excessive attempts to harness the free market, citing the disastrous experience of opening up government loans to private vocational education providers.
Of 26 services it assessed, the commission identified only five as being best-suited to more competition: end-of-life care, human services in remote Indigenous communities, public dental services, public hospitals and social housing.
-----

Losing triple-A rating inevitable, says John Hewson

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM December 5, 2016

Simon King

Former Liberal leader John Hewson has issued Scott Morrison an economic reality check, saying it’s inevitable Australia will lose its triple-A credit rating.
Speaking on Sky News’s Australian Agenda yesterday Dr Hewson — who has a PhD in economics — said that, given the predicted size of the national debt and the main parties’ approaches to it, neither side could deliver a path to surplus by the end of the decade.
“The fact that we are going to lose the triple-A credit rating is a foregone conclusion; it’s just a question of timing,” Dr Hewson said. “They are going to have a very difficult time bringing down next year’s budget. To my mind, there’s no doubt about that.
“And if you try to cut through what is the essence of their budgetary strategy, it is to deliver the corporate tax cuts over the 10-year period and fund it by relying on bracket creep.”

Malcolm Turnbull set to axe Tony Abbott's Green Army environmental program

Tom McIlroy
Published: December 5, 2016 - 9:37AM
The Turnbull government is set to kill off the Green Army, Tony Abbott's much-hyped environmental project, as it looks to find savings of more than $350 million in this month's budget update.
Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg all but confirmed reports in The Australian Financial Review on Monday that the government's powerful Expenditure Review Committee had decided to axe the program, saying budget savings were required from across government.
Established after Mr Abbott's 2013 election victory, the Green Army was designed to use the manpower of up to 15,000 unemployed young people, aged 17 to 24, for conservation projects in every state and territory.
Treasurer Scott Morrison is expected to confirm the project's demise in the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook statement, due on December 19.
-----

Why central banks should lean on housing bubbles

Clancy Yeates
Published: December 6, 2016 - 12:15AM
An age-old debate was re-ignited last week, when the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development called for higher interest rates to rein in Australia's resurgent housing market.
Should central banks actively "lean" on asset bubbles by raising the cost of credit, or ignore asset prices and focus purely on hitting their inflation targets?
Today's combination of debt-fuelled rises in asset prices and low inflation means this question is as relevant as ever.
A new book on perhaps the best-known central banker in history, former US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, makes a compelling case for central bankers being leaners. 
-----

Budget on track Morrison tells agency

December 5, 20163:00pm
Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent Australian Associated Press
Treasurer Scott Morrison insists the mid-year budget review is nothing more than an update even though it's likely to come with some tinkering to environment and welfare measures.
But whether than means disbanding the Green Army - one of Tony Abbott's signature climate policies - and saving $350 million is not yet certain.
Surrendering it would help pay for the $100 million in extra Landcare funding Mr Morrison promised the Greens in return for the minor party's support for the government's 15 per cent backpacker tax.
Then there's the $4.5 million-a-day the government says its clawing back in a crackdown on welfare recipients wrongly receiving benefits, announced by Human Services Minister Alan Tudge on Monday.
-----

Scott Morrison's greatest achievement to date

Jessica Irvine
Published: December 6, 2016 - 10:58AM
Between all the backflips, repeals and retreats – not to mention the spin, policymaking on the run and the dreaded "announcables" –  it's sometimes hard to keep faith that good policy development is happening within government.
It's partly our fault, as journalists. In addition to keeping you abreast of the latest mayhem, I believe it is the job of journalists to attempt to influence good public policy outcomes.
This rightly involves a good deal of scrutiny when things go wrong. But it also involves delivering due attention when things go right.
So, step forward and take a bow: Scott Morrison.
-----

Housing markets to remain strong, but the bubble is inflating

Carolyn Cummins
Published: December 7, 2016 - 12:15AM
Housing markets will retain their buoyancy for at least another year, but concerns of price bubbles loom large, according to the latest Australian Property Institute's Property Directions Survey.
Respondents believe that residential property in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will remain at the top of property cycle for some time yet.
The institute's  36th report comes from a sentiment survey of national property valuers, financiers, analysts and fund managers who work at the country's largest property companies and financial institutions. This year's results were taken in September and October.
-----

Why I'm a pathological optimist, despite my job

Ross Gittins
Published: December 7, 2016 - 3:17AM
Last week in front of 1400 people at a Fairfax Media subscriber event I was outed as a "pathological optimist" by an anonymous reader, who wanted to know how I got that way.
It reminded me of Dylan Thomas, who went into a pub in America and got beaten up by some big bruiser – a future Trump voter, no doubt – for calling him heterosexual.
But, since you ask, I'll tell you – much as I hate talking about myself.
I think it's partly heredity, and partly by choice. When you grow up in the Salvos, professing to be "saved", it's natural to be happy with life and confident Someone Upstairs will look after you.
-----

It's time to revisit our resources rent taxes because 2017 looms as a difficult year

Updated 5 December 2016, 10:15 AEDT
Another anguished treasurer faces the prospect of a mid-year downgrade to his economic forecasts.
Another anguished treasurer faces the prospect of a mid-year downgrade to his economic forecasts. Perhaps it's time to revisit our resources rent taxes.
They are the sounds that each year conjure up fond memories of lazy, childhood holidays and the onset of an Australian summer.
The gentle rustle of a nor'east wind, the low, droning hum of cicadas, the thwack of leather on willow … and the anguished cry of a treasurer from his Canberra office as he faces the prospect of a mid-year downgrade to his economic forecasts.
It has become something of a tradition.
-----

Australian national accounts: Recession? We're not even close

Peter Martin
Published: December 8, 2016 - 12:10AM
What if there was a recession, and no one noticed?
It's entirely possible. We don't normally think of the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a particularly bad time, yet in the June and September quarters of that year GDP slipped 0.4 per cent. As it happened, in the first of those quarters GDP barely grew, by a rounding error of $423 million, and in the second it slid $1.1 billion.
If GDP in the June quarter had been just $424 million worse, or if in future years it is revised down by $424 million, the year of our Olympic glory would become "officially" a recession and that quarter of a century without a recession wouldn't have happened.
-----
  • Updated Dec 7 2016 at 4:02 PM

The Australian economy is not half way to a recession

The economy may have gone backwards in the September quarter, but we're not on the edge of a recession.
For sure, it's not a good look by any stretch and without doubt the economy is a lot weaker than most people thought, so it's fair to say we're no longer the shining example everyone thought we were.
But economic expansions like the one Australia has enjoyed for so long don't just die suddenly.
They have to be killed off and at this stage it doesn't look like that will happen.
Still, that doesn't mean we don't have to worry.
-----

Recession fears over worst economic result since the GFC

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

David Uren

The nation’s worst economic performance since the global financial crisis threatens to upset the government’s budget planning and force a reluctant Reserve Bank to reconsider the case for further interest rate cuts.
The 0.5 per cent fall in GDP in the September quarter was much worse than either Treasury or the Reserve Bank was predicting and reflects both continuing falls in business investment and poor consumer spending.
Since June, the annual growth rate has dropped from 3.1 per cent to 1.8 per cent, the weakest since 2009 in the heart of the crisis, and only the fourth time the economy has contracted since the last ­recession 25 years ago.
-----

Economy in reverse kills interest rate hike talk

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

David Rogers

Weak GDP data has blown away the chance of official interest rate hikes next year, while leaving the door open for further cuts from the Reserve Bank if the economy doesn’t recover strongly.
A perfect storm pushed Australia’s GDP down 0.5 per cent in the September quarter, while year-on-year growth slowed to 1.8 per cent from a downwardly revised 3.1 per cent in the June quarter.
It was only the fourth negative quarterly GDP report in Australia since the last recession in 1991. The annual growth rate of GDP was the slowest since the global financial crisis seven years ago. Economists had expected minus 0.1 per cent for the quarter and 2.2 per cent for the year.
The data wiped half a US cent off the dollar and the sharemarket rose 0.9 per cent as the data scotched recent speculation that the RBA could initiate interest rate hikes by the end of next year.
-----

Ken Henry bemoans 'fiscal mess' in call for bipartisanship

Clancy Yeates
Published: December 8, 2016 - 8:48PM
Former Treasury Secretary Ken Henry has taken a swipe at both major parties' approach to restoring the budget's health, backing greater bipartisanship in a wide-ranging critique of political leadership around the world.
After the economy's shock contraction during the September quarter this week, Dr Henry also joined business calls for more public investment in infrastructure, which he described as the "elephant in the room."
Speaking in Sydney on Thursday night, Dr Henry, chairman of National Australia Bank, said his big hope for the next year was that the Coalition and Labor could figure out a way to deal with the country's "fiscal mess."
-----

NZ budget update marked contrast to Aust

December 8, 20164:23pm
Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics CorrespondentAustralian Associated Press
As if the All Blacks' trouncing of the Wallabies in all three Bledisloe Cup rugby matches this year wasn't enough, Australia's cross-Tasman neighbours continue to hold the upper-hand in economic prowess as well.
Rubbing salt in the wound 24 hours after Australia posted its worst economic performance in eight years, New Zealand has upgraded its official growth forecasts and is predicting budget surpluses as far as the eye can see.
Little wonder that NZ Finance Minister Bill English is about to become his country's next prime minister after John Key announced his retirement this week.
In its half-year budget review released on Thursday, NZ Treasury predicted economic growth of 3.6 per cent in the year to June 2017, up from a previous forecast of 2.9 per cent.
-----

The GDP wake-up call has been ringing for years. It's just that nobody answered

Michael Pascoe
Published: December 9, 2016 - 10:08AM
Treasurer Morrison labelled this week's surprisingly low September-quarter GDP number as a "wake-up call". What he didn't say is that it's a call that's been ringing for three years. Nobody in the government bothered to answer it. 
Three years is how long mining investment has been tumbling towards the September quarter's inevitable conclusion. For those three years, the government has primarily relied on low interest rates to provide an alternative growth engine. It has turned out that the main contribution of low interest rates has been to encourage higher housing prices, which in turn has helped maintain consumer spending through the wealth effect. 
No, it has never been a sustainable solution. A very valuable transition mechanism that has done a great job, yes, but you can't rely on always increasing the number of dwelling units being built and renovated. Growth through housing expansion is coming to an end. 
-----

Recession? Look out your window

Ross Gittins
Published: December 10, 2016 - 12:15AM
What would economic race-calling be without its little excitements? As you may possibly have heard, this week's news is that the economy has contracted - shrunk, gone backwards - by 0.5 per cent.
Oh, no! Another negative quarter will see the economy lapse into "technical" recession. Technically true, but quite unlikely - as almost all the money market economists had the honesty to admit.
If you're more practical than technical, and you live in Sydney or Melbourne, the best way to judge whether recession looms is to look out the window.
Bearing in mind that anyone under 25 has never seen a severe recession, and that anyone under about 40 probably wasn't paying much attention in 1991, let me give you a hint: they don't look anything like what you see around you.
-----

Health Budget Issues.

Hepatitis C breakthrough drugs cost taxpayers $1bn in four months

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM December 5, 2016

Sean Parnell

No sooner had breakthrough hepatitis C drugs been placed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme than they topped the list of the most expensive medicines for taxpayers to subsidise.
After a 2015 recommendation from an expert advisory committee, the federal government in February listed on the PBS a series of hepatitis C medications including sofosbuvir and, separately, sofosbuvir with ledipasvir.
Health Minister Sussan Ley described it as a “watershed moment in Australian history”, saying “we are hoping to eliminate one of the great disease challenges facing Australia in the 21st century”.
The hepatitis C drugs topped the list of most costly medications to subsidise in the 2015-16 financial year, according to an analysis by Australian Prescriber magazine.
-----

Private health fund members stuck with outdated treatments due to ‘loophole’

Sue Dunlevy, National Health Reporter, News Corp Australia Network
December 5, 2016 10:00pm
EXCLUSIVE
PRIVATELY-insured Australians are missing out on lifesaving treatments for strokes, heart problems and blocked arteries because government rules prevent health funds covering them.
The treatments involve devices such as a machine that retrieves blood clots from the brain that helped Northern Blues VFL player Scott Simpson make a remarkable recovery after a stroke.
A “fractional flow reserve pressure wire” measures blood flow in diseased coronary arteries and shows where coronary stents should be placed.
The device costs $1350 but studies show it reduces expenditure on stents by $1434.50 per procedure.
-----

Two in three patients bulk-billed for all GP visits, department of health figures reveal

Kate Aubusson
Published: December 7, 2016 - 3:57PM
Two-thirds of patients were bulk-billed for all their GP visits, the Department of Health has revealed.
The figures released on Tuesday in response to Senate estimates questions have punctured the Turnbull government's claim that bulk-billing was at a record high despite its rebate freeze, the Royal Australian College of GPs says. 
The department warned that quoting the two-thirds figure as the national bulk-billing rate was misleading.
About 64.7 per cent of patients had all their GP visits bulk-billed over the past financial year, leaving roughly one-third out of pocket for at least one visit to their GP, the Department of Health disclosed on Tuesday in response to Senate estimates questions. 
-----

College warns Health Care Homes plan risks harming patients

Paul Smith | 8 December, 2016 | 
The RACGP has staged a dramatic U-turn on the Health Care Homes reform, saying it risks damaging GP-led care and harming patients.
In a message to its 30,000 members last week, the college urges doctors not to take part in the Federal Government’s pilot — due to start next July — unless ministers agree to delay its rollout.
The shift is stark, given the Health Care Homes policy was the result of intense, long-running lobbying from the RACGP itself.
When the Minister for Health and Aged Care announced the reforms back in March, the college hailed them as “life-saving” and a “great win for patients, providers and funders”.
-----

Health Care Homes: not yet where the heart is

Doctors have called on the Federal Government to delay the implementation of the Health Care Homes model from the current starting date of 1 July 2017 by at least three to six months. Here’s why.

United General Practice Australia, which comprises the leading general practice organisations RACGP, AMA, RDAA, GPSA, GPRA, ACRRM and AGPN, has serious concerns regarding capitated funding for chronic disease management and treatment. It may harm patients, and it may undermine GP-led care when funding runs out.
Additional time to plan for the Health Care Home model is required to get the nation’s healthcare system right and properly consider, design, and implement the supporting tools, information and adequate funding mechanisms.
-----

'Patients will die if they don't fix this': Hospitals rationing, stockpiling first-line antibiotics amid drug shortage

Kate Aubusson
Published: December 11, 2016 - 8:00AM
A national shortage of three first line antibiotics is forcing hospitals to stockpile, ration and use back-up treatments that expose patients battling serious infection to more toxic drugs, and embolden superbugs.
The drugs Vancomycin, Aciclovir and metronidazole are the latest in a long list of antibiotic shortages over the past few years which are the most effective, least expensive, least toxic and least likely to cause resistance, infectious diseases doctors say.
When hospitals are out of stock or have to ration these antibiotics, doctors are driven to use back-up treatments including giving patients broader spectrum antibiotics which can cause potentially catastrophic complications such as bowel inflammation, and potentially put the community at greater risk of superbugs.
-----.

COAG Issues.

Capitulation on climate change ignores evidence and will come at a cost

Adam Morton
Published: December 8, 2016 - 12:32AM
In a world of post-fact politics, this is a doozy.
The government is armed with a raft of evidence – from government agencies, the energy industry, business groups – that the electricity sector is in chaos.
Ageing, failing coal plants are shutting down abruptly and haphazardly – nine in the past seven years, with the giant Hazelwood station in Victoria to join them in March. More will follow.
Wind farms are being built to meet a national renewable energy target that was only ever designed to be a policy add-on. The target has kept a growing industry alive – just, at times – but was never meant to drive the change to a modern electricity scheme.
-----

Government killed emissions scheme despite knowing it could shave $15 billion off electricity bills

Adam Morton
Published: December 8, 2016 - 10:18PM
The Turnbull government has been sitting on advice that an emissions intensity scheme - the carbon policy it put on the table only to rule out just 36 hours later - would save households and businesses up to $15 billion in electricity bills over a decade.
While Malcolm Turnbull has rejected this sort of scheme by claiming it would push up prices, analysis in an Australian Electricity Market Commission report handed to the government months ago finds it would actually cost consumers far less than other approaches, including doing nothing.
It finds that would still be the case even if the government boosted its climate target to a 50 per cent cut in emissions by 2030.
-----

Australia, welcome to your new climate change policy

Jacqueline Maley
Published: December 10, 2016 - 12:00AM
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson visited the Great Barrier Reef a fortnight ago, with two of her fellow senators – Malcolm "I respect the Jews" Roberts, a man whose climate change denial is so intricate you need a PhD to understand it; and poor Brian Burston, who didn't join his colleagues for a snorkel because they couldn't find a wetsuit to fit him.
It appears no invitation was extended to fellow One Nation senator Rod Culleton, who is enjoying his legal adventures far too much for his leader's liking. They left the limelight-hogger back down south.
Finally the spotlight was back where it should be – on Hanson, who donned a wetsuit, inspected the coral in the waters off Great Keppel Island, and declared the reef ship-shape.
-----

Turnbull firm against emissions plan

December 9, 20165:16pm
Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer Australian Associated Press
Malcolm Turnbull has warned state and territory leaders he won't agree to any climate policy that puts pressure on electricity prices, which have already risen 50 per cent in six years.
But some of the premiers have hit back saying the prime minister has missed an opportunity - in not supporting a national emissions intensity scheme (EIS) - to take pressure off prices while reducing blackouts and addressing climate change.
The Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra on Friday received an interim report by chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel, which concluded that an EIS "had the lowest economic costs and the lowest impact on electricity prices".
Addressing the meeting, he said it was the lack of clarity about a national emissions reduction policy beyond 2020 that was adding to investment uncertainty and pushing up prices.
-----

What the leaders said about COAG

December 9, 20164:58pm
Belinda Merhab Australian Associated Press
WHAT THEY SAID AFTER THE COAG MEETING:
ON ENERGY POLICY
State leaders went into Friday's meeting unanimously calling for a national energy plan, before receiving an interim report on the national energy market from Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.
JAY WEATHERILL (SA): said it was disappointing the prime minister had ruled out an emissions intensity scheme, given the report describes it as the most cost-effective option for merging emissions and energy policy. "This is complex public policy, it's easy to scare people, but fundamentally I believe in the intelligence of the Australian community to actually grapple with these complex public policy issues."
COLIN BARNETT (WA): said he was a "lone voice", believing there was too much attention on market schemes. "The situation on the east coast would be a lot better with a few simple fundamental reforms rather than exotic and eloquent market solutions."
WILL HODGMAN (Tas): wants the federal government to invest in a second interconnector across the Bass Strait so Tasmania can become the renewable battery for the nation, given 90 per cent of its energy is renewable.
-----
  • Dec 9 2016 at 4:30 PM
  • Updated Dec 9 2016 at 5:29 PM

We'll all be worse off for Malcolm Turnbull's climate policy fail

Malcolm Turnbull still seethes over what Labor did to him on Medicare during the election campaign.
Labor's inflated claims that the government planned to privatise universal health care were devastatingly effective. Turnbull frequently describes the campaign as the first incursion into Australia of post-truth politics - telling a bold-faced lie and getting away with it.
In reality, it was the Coalition under Tony Abbott which first made post-truth politics an art form in this country with its hyperbolic attacks on carbon pricing.
Turnbull was a passive observer as Abbott, Barnaby Joyce and others made inflated claims about the impact of "the great big tax on everything". It worked so well it became the template for Labor's Mediscare campaign.
-----

Health Insurance Issues.

Aged care stocks jump as funding cuts tweaked

  • The Australian
  • 6:01PM December 6, 2016

Sarah-Jane Tasker

Australia’s listed aged care companies enjoyed a rare lift on the market on Tuesday, after the Federal Government altered $2 billion worth of planned cuts to the sectors’ funding.
Assistant minister for health and aged care, Ken Wyatt, revealed changes to cuts to the aged care funding instrument, which he said had been made following consultation with the sector.
“The government has listened to concerns of providers and adjusted or removed some of the previously proposed changes relating to the delivery of complex pain management,” Mr Wyatt said.
“The revised package provides more certainty for the sector and will deliver sustainable expenditure growth over the short-term while paving the way for longer-term reforms.”
-----

Aged care funding: Government compromises on budget’s ACFI changes

By Darragh O'Keeffe on December 7, 2016 in Government, Industry
The Federal Government announces changes to how it will achieve savings of $1.2 billion in aged care funding by adjusting some of the controversial measures contained in its May budget.
The confirmation by Assistant Minister Ken Wyatt on Tuesday comes after months of provider backlash over the changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument, which aged care providers argued would impact residents with high care needs.
Mr Wyatt announced the government was not proceeding with some of the budget’s proposed changes to pain management and physiotherapy services funded under the Complex Health Care (CHC) domain in the ACFI.
Speaking at the Preparing for Choice and Control in Residential Aged Care conference Mr Wyatt also announced a one-year freeze on indexation of all ACFI subsidies in 2017-18 and a one-year delay in the budget’s 50 per cent freeze on indexation of the CHC domain until 2018-19.
-----

Pharmacy Issues.

  • December 10 2016 - 4:43PM

Malcolm Turnbull in new funding fight with the powerful Pharmacy Guild

Adam Gartrell
The country's powerful pharmacy lobby is threatening a damning public campaign against the Turnbull government if it doesn't settle a bitter funding dispute in its favour.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has embarked on a lobbying blitz of Coalition backbench MPs to pressure Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Health Minister Sussan Ley into changing course.
The guild and the government are locked in an arm-wrestle over some elements of an $18.9-billion funding deal with the guild and the 5500 community pharmacies it represents.
Called a "risk share", the contested element forecasts prescription volumes in each of the pharmacy agreement's five years. In the first year – last financial year – there was a 2.1 per cent shortfall in prescriptions, delivering the government a saving of up to $500 million.
-----
I look forward to comments on all this!
-----
David.

No comments: