Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review Of The Ongoing Post - Budget Controversy 24th July 2014. It Is Sure Going On and On!

Budget Night was on Tuesday 13th May, 2014 and the fuss has still not settled by a long shot.
It is amazing how the discussion on the GP Co-Payment just runs and runs.
Here are some of the more interesting articles I have spotted this eighth  week since it was released.
Parliament has now got up for the Winter Recess we can take a breath and see where we are. Interestingly it seems so much that has been in contention is yet to even be introduced into Parliament so we will have a long wait to discover what will happen with things like the Medicare Co-payment and so on.
We sure do live in interesting times!


Health insurers make inroads into GP services

Joanna Heath
Take two 55-year-old, slightly overweight men with a niggle in their chest. One has private health insurance, and one does not. The man with private health insurance – let’s call him Simon – rings his doctor. They’re full up today, the receptionist tells him, but because he is a customer of their preferred insurance provider, they’ll fit him in. He won’t have to pay for the visit, thanks to an agreement between his insurer and the clinic.
Simon’s doctor checks him out and decides it’s nothing serious. But to be sure, he sends him down the corridor to have a scan, which will be billed straight to his insurer. The doctor suggests Simon might think about losing a bit of weight to prevent a real heart attack, and refers him to a dietitian. Again it’s the insurer that picks up the bill.
David, who doesn’t have private health insurance, also calls his doctor. He is told they can’t fit him in today.

Aussies rank cancer highly in health priorities

Sean Parnell

Health Editor
AUSTRALIANS want to safeguard cancer services from ­government cuts, ranking the disease more deserving of ­additional funding than other major health conditions in an ­exclusive Newspoll.
After the federal budget cut preventive health and public ­hospital funding, and moved to impose a $7 co-payment on basic medical services, partly to pay for a new research fund, Newspoll asked Australians what areas they thought should be prioritised by governments.
Given a choice between cancer, heart disease, obesity, mental health and diabetes, Australians were more likely to give the highest priority to cancer (30 per cent), with women ranking it higher than men.

Sports on back foot over Medicare cuts

John Stensholt
Australia’s richest and most popular football and sporting codes, such as the Australian Football League and Australian Rugby League, are used to taking big hits both on and off the field.
But an innocuous looking letter from a mid-ranking Medicare bureaucrat has flawed them and is set to cost the sports ­millions of dollars.
The letter sent in June asked clubs and sports to bear the full cost of operations and other medical procedures that were partly covered by Medicare. It sparked top-level discussions among the sporting codes’ chief executives and demands for an urgent meeting with Health and Sports Minister Peter Dutton in Canberra.
Now there is now a mounting concern that athletes may be given less than ­adequate medical treatment as costs are likely to soar for clubs and sports.

GP Co-Payments.

More bad news on the GP co-payment: BEACH study

Michelle Hughes | Jul 15, 2014 11:58AM
In case you needed more evidence that the GP co-payment needs some further consideration, researchers at the University of Sydney have released has released a new study  on the estimated impact of co- payments, and the results provide interesting reading.
This study is of particular interest as it draws on the latest year of BEACH data i.e. GP consultations from April 2013- March 2014. The following table of examples from the paper suggests the impact for many is not insignificant.

Survey finds cost fears delaying visits to doctor

By David Chen
Posted Thu 17 Jul 2014, 11:08am AEST
The chairman of the Townsville-Mackay Medicare Local says he is concerned people are putting off a visit to the doctor because of costs.
Data collected by the Medicare Local over the past year shows one in 12 people in north Queensland are delaying a trip to the local GP because they are worried about the cost.
Chairman Dr Kevin Arlett says the figures are higher than expected.

Dutton commences co-payment compromise with crossbenchers

Joanna Heath

Key points

  • Peter Dutton has said there is room for negotiation on the co-payment.
  • The AMA are critical of the co-payment, saying at-risk patients should get a break.
Health Minister Peter Dutton says he has opened negotiations with the minor party senators on the $7 co-payment for doctor visits, one of the most controversial budget measures yet to be put to Parliament.
Mr Dutton has previously flip-flopped on whether the government was prepared to make adjustments to its model, which imposes the fee on GP patients regardless of their ­concessional status.
“My judgment is that there is ­certainly in my space the ability for us to negotiate on the co-payment and on the measures the government has in place otherwise,” Mr Dutton said on ­Thursday. “We’re negotiating in good faith and I’ve certainly been ­encouraged by the level of engagement from those senators so far and those ­conversations continue.”

Parliamentary showdown over co-pay campaign

17 July, 2014 Paul Smith
Australian Doctor's Stop the Co-Pay Cuts: GPs make the difference petition caused a storm in parliament on Wednesday, with Tony Abbott claiming  many doctors support his government's co-payment policy.
Here Deputy Editor Paul Smith reports on the Question Time fracas.
The petition is being brandished in front of Tony Abbott and it doesn't look as though the Prime Minister likes it much.
It is Question Time, which in our politically turbulent age, carries a feral edge more commonly experienced in a school assembly for troubled kids.
The topic is the Federal Government's $7 co-payment plan. The petition is Oz Doc's petition signed by over 2500 GPs, and a further 600 practice staff and patients, calling for the co-payment plan to be shelved, along with the couple of billion dollars in Medicare cuts.

Govt wants talks on co-payment: Hockey

18 July, 2014 Antonio Bradley
The Federal Government says it is open to negotiation on its controversial GP co-payment plan, but claims other political parties are not returning its calls.
In an interview on Thursday, Treasurer Joe Hockey acknowledged the resistance the controversial budget measure was likely to face when it reaches the Senate.
"Sooner or later many of our critics will have to realise that the reason why we're doing this is to strengthen the economy and help to create more jobs and greater prosperity," he told radio station 3AW.

Medicare Locals.

Medicare Locals had no ‘clear strategy’

Sean Parnell

Health Editor
MEDICARE Locals, the primary care organisations established as part of Labor’s health reforms, came without a “clearly defined and measurable strategy and role”, according to an analysis for the federal government.
Consultants Ernst and Young were the key independent advisers to John Horvath for his review of the 61 Medicare Locals, which led to a budget decision to replace them with a new structure.
While the Coalition has long criticised Medicare Locals, arguing that they were an unnecessary ­bureaucracy that diverted federal funds from frontline services, the consultants and Professor Horvath found some, at least, were doing good work.
However, the Ernst and Young analysis — which includes work by the University of NSW Centre for Primary Health Care and ­Equity — reveals those successes were “in large part not due to design” and the performance varied greatly across the system.

Rage over mental health cuts in Central Australia

  • Matt Garrick
  • NT News
  • July 18, 2014 1:44PM
THE future of a Central Australian mental health program provided by the Royal Flying Doctor Service is up in the air.
Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon has accused the government of lies and “breaking promises to Aboriginal people” amid claims there is to be a reduction in funding to NT Medicare Local.
“This reduction in NT Medicare Local funding has meant that the service provider (of a remote mental health program) – the Royal Flying Doctor Service, is no longer able to deliver this much needed service,” said Mr Snowdon.

Doctor shocked by health data for Mackay

17th Jul 2014 2:44 PM
TOWNSVILLE-MACKAY Medicare Local Chairman Dr Kevin Arlett is shocked by the startling reality of health data collated by the organisation during the past year that gives a snapshot of the health in the community.
He said that despite the incredible amount of education and work being done to tackle chronic and preventable disease, nearly a quarter of adults in the region are smokers and three quarters of adults are either overweight or obese.
"There is some really promising data like 80% of people in our region visiting a GP and very high percentage of indigenous children who are fully immunised but there's also some really startling numbers," Dr Arlett said.


Facts on PBS Co-payment

A PBS co-payment has been in place since 1960, and has had the support of successive Governments since then.
Page last updated: 14 July 2014
14 July 2014
A PBS co-payment has been in place since 1960, and has had the support of successive Governments since then. But that was before Labor lost its way.
Labor should explain why they are opposing a PBS co-payment; something that has had the support of both sides of parliament over the past 50 years.
Labor increased the PBS co-payment by 100 per cent in 1986 and it was Labor who first introduced a PBS co-payment for pensioners in 1991.
It seems the fuss is not yet settled - to say the least. Will be fascinating to see how all this plays out.
The crucial New Senate has shown itself to be rather an extreme rabble and just where we will all wind up is rather in the lap of the gods!
To remind readers there is also a great deal of useful health discussion here from The Conversation.
Also a huge section on the overall budget found here:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ernst and Young said MEDICARE LOCALS lacked a “clearly defined and measurable strategy and role” and the Coalition said they were an unnecessary ¬bureaucracy that diverted federal funds from frontline services

Mmmm -- sounds more like the Department’s approach to eHealth, NEHTA and the PCEHR.