Thursday, January 28, 2016

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

January 28 Edition
Here is some other of the recent other news and analysis.
Clearly the big news in the last few weeks has been macroeconomic with oil slipping to be worth less than $US30 a barrel, sinking global share markets, Chinese manipulation of the yuan, falling bond yields and a gentle uptick in the price of gold.
On Friday last week, someone seems to have said enough is enough, and things have steadied. By the time you read this we will know if the fix is in - or not!
Here is a summary up until the end of last week:

ASX's bear market likely to be Gummy, not Grizzly: Credit Suisse

Friday, 22 Jan 2016 | 12:18 AM ET
Australia's shares are set to enter a bear market, but there's a two in three chance investors who buy in will emerge with a profit if they hang on for a year, Credit Suisse said.
So far, Australian stocks have avoided bear territory, but just by the skin of their teeth; at Friday's close, the S&P ASX 200 was down around 18 percent from its 52-week high of 5,982.69, set in April 2015, despite posting a 1.07 percent rally for the day.
Credit Suisse expects that could change at any time.
But if it does, it's likely to be a Gummy bear that grips equities, not a Grizzly, the bank said in a note on Thursday, after examining the past 12 bear markets Down Under. That's a nod to a popular sticky, bear-shaped candy.
In a Grizzly bear market, the index falls by a further 20 percent, while under the Gummy scenario, the benchmark would rally by an average 24 percent over the next 12 months, Credit Suisse said.
"Grizzly bears are associated with deeper profits recessions and higher starting valuations. Our forecast of flat EPS (earnings per share) and reasonable starting valuations (as measured by cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratios) suggests the potential upcoming bear market in Australia will be of the Gummy kind," Credit Suisse said.

Thursday Update: Nothing has really improved - most markets and oil still in a funk!

General Budget Issues.

Income growth lowest in 50 years

  • The Australian
  • January 18, 2016 12:00AM

David Uren

Australia faces its slowest income growth in more than 50 years as the downturn in China hits wages and profits while sparking fears of a new global downturn.
With the Australian sharemarket facing the prospect of steep falls today, a new report by Deloitte Access Economics identifies Australia’s poor income growth as a “worry”, even though the latest figures on the national economy, including strong jobs growth, have pointed to reasonable growth.
“Weak incomes today are a risk to growth down the track.” the report says, noting that poor income growth erodes business investment and household spending.
The report comes as world markets face renewed pressure this week amid doubts about the strength of the economies of China and the US.

Economy is OK, budget isn't: economist

AAP – 2 hours 31 minutes ago
Treasurer Scott Morrison faces the tricky task of explaining the budget is in trouble even though the economy is doing okay, economist Chris Richardson warns.
It comes as a Deloitte Access Economics report warns Australia faces its slowest income growth in more than half a century.
"You have a treasurer who has to explain to Australia genuinely, the economy is okay but the budget is not," Mr Richardson told ABC radio on Monday.

Australian economy very sound: Morrison

January 18, 2016, 8:42 am
Treasurer Scott Morrison has reassured Australians the economy remains "very sound" despite global volatility, with more than 300,000 jobs created in the past year.
Mr Morrison says the government's plan "is exactly as we need it to be" in the face of volatility in financial markets and a slowdown in the Chinese economy.
The Chinese slowdown was not unanticipated and the government was focused on boosting business and jobs while reducing expenditure to get the budget back on track.
The treasurer's comments came as a Deloitte Access Economics report warned Australia faces its slowest income growth in more than half a century.

Treasurer Scott Morrison calls cool heads over volatile Chinese economy

Date January 18, 2016 - 9:22AM

Judith Ireland

National political reporter

US stocks take another beating

Equities face relentless selling pressure amid ongoing worries about falling oil prices and weakness in China.
Treasurer Scott Morrison has broken his holiday silence to call on people to keep a "cool head" about the Chinese economy, saying Australia was in a solid position despite recent global turmoil.
In his first major interview for 2016, Mr Morrison said doubts about the Chinese economy - which have seen the Australian stock market plunge to a two-and-a-half-year low -  were "not unanticipated". 
"This is a time for just being, I think, very cautious," he told Sky News on Monday. 

Morrison rejects gloom in face of budget woes

18th Jan 2016 6:55 PM
TREASURER Scott Morrison has rejected doom-and-gloom reports of China's impact on Australia, urging people to have "cool heads" in the face of a two-year low in the stock market.
Mr Morrison told Sky News on Monday that people needed to be "cautious" about reports of global volatility and defended the economy as "very sound".
A Deloitte Access Economics report released on Monday found growth in the United States was countering some effects of China's slowdown.
But Deloitte's Chris Richardson also described the combined effects of low commodity prices and the China slowdown as "a wrecking ball for the tax take".

IMF warns global growth could be 'derailed' over the next two years

Date January 20, 2016 - 5:54AM

Gareth Hutchens

Global growth will disappoint in 2016 and the outlook for the medium-term has deteriorated, the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde announced late last year.
Global growth could be "derailed" over the next two years if key transitions in the world economy are not successfully navigated, the International Monetary Fund has warned.
This coming year is going to be a year of great challenges and policymakers should be thinking about short-term resilience and the ways they can bolster it 

Queensland taxes: Federal government offers deal to cut state taxes

January 24, 2016 1:00am
Renee Viellaris The Sunday Mail (Qld)
THE Federal Government is expected to offer state treasurers a deal to abolish stamp duty and payroll tax in a bid to get the economy moving.
The deal, which would see Canberra replace the money states take from the two taxes with a bigger slice of income tax receipts, would come at the expense of the Budget bottom line but government sources say they will make it up through extra economic activity.
A spokesman for Treasurer Scott Morrison said “everything is on the table’’.
It comes as Queensland and Victoria continue to publicly dismiss any increase or broadening of the GST.
  • Jan 20 2016 at 4:53 PM

Kelly O'Dwyer says tax changes will be 'clear' before next election

by Joanna Mather
The Turnbull government will clearly spell out its tax changes before the next election, and doesn't feel it is running out of time to hold meaningful consultations about contentious changes such as increasing the GST or curbing superannuation tax breaks, Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer says.
"We're going to take any tax reform package to the election and the election's not until later in the year," she told ABC radio.
"We are going to be very clear with the Australian people where we stand on tax reform."
Before that, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison will face their first major test – the May federal budget. 

Scott Morrison: Too much economic 'volatility' for an early election

Date January 21, 2016 - 8:16PM

Fergus Hunter


Treasurer Scott Morrison has linked the timing of this year's federal election to market "volatility", declaring the Turnbull government would go full term as it puts forward its solutions for economic uncertainty.
He also reaffirmed his government's intention to institute tax reform, including cuts to income and company taxes. 
The Treasurer insisted that rumours of an early election are wrong.
"The Prime Minister has said the government will go full term and that's what we'll be doing," Mr Morrison told business channel Bloomberg on Thursday.
"And the reason for that is, right now, certainly there is volatility.

Empty promises and false starts limit budget repair

  • The Australian
  • January 23, 2016 12:00AM
In this election year there is a temptation to think of the Turnbull administration as a new government, preparing to deliver its first budget and outline its taxation and other reform plans before going to the people.
Yet Malcolm Turnbull and his Treasurer, Scott Morrison, have been in cabinet for more than two years and, with that cabinet, have endorsed two budgets. What is more, when it comes to international markets, financiers, investors and creditors there is only one Australian government, a constant no matter whether Labor or Liberal, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott or Mr Turnbull is in charge. The fact is that eight years have passed since the federal budget dipped deep into deficit and despite repeated promises and forecasts, few inroads have been made. Deficits stretch still, as far as we can see.

Coalition fixed the budget in 1996: it can be done again

  • Peter Costello
  • The Australian
  • January 23, 2016 12:00AM
Anyone can spend money they don’t have if someone is prepared to lend it to them. When governments do that the cost of the borrowing becomes a charge against future taxes. Future taxpayers have just that little bit less of their own taxes to pay for services ­because a component must go off to service the cost of previous ­consumption.
Maybe they will decide to send the cost on to the next generation and add in a little bit of their own overconsumption as well. Soon the debt and debt-servicing cost begins to accumulate. Soon future generations have less money to spend on their own needs because they are paying the cost of previous decisions.
Personal debts die with the person who incurred them. Governments do not die, and their debts continue down to successive generations. Their flexibility and their options begin to narrow.
One of the things I am proud of in my time in government is that we bequeathed no debt to future generations. And we cleared the debts of all the governments that went before it. Never had the ­financial position of the federal government been stronger. It was an important time to be strong, given the gyrations in the international financial system in 2008.

How is Scott Morrison performing as Treasurer?

Date January 22, 2016 - 5:50PM

Gareth Hutchens and Fergus Hunter

When Malcolm Turnbull challenged Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party, he said the government desperately needed a different leadership style.
Australia is facing huge economic challenges and needs a new leadership team that can explain those challenges clearly and sensibly, he said.
He replaced Treasurer Joe Hockey with Scott Morrison and set about rebuilding the government's economics team.
But how well is Scott Morrison doing as Treasurer? Is he doing a better job than Hockey? We asked some senior economists and strategists for their views.

Health Budget Issues.

Sussan Ley under fire over pathology comments

Date January 17, 2016 - 6:56PM

Jane Lee

Health Minister Sussan Ley's office has come under fire for saying patients should be "suspicious" of pathologists' estimates of how much patients would have to pay for pap smears and blood tests to recover planned federal cuts.
The Turnbull government plans to cut bulk-billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging services, saving about $650 million over four years. Pathology providers have indicated that they will pass any losses on to patients through a co-payment.
Ms Ley's spokesman has repeatedly said that patients are "rightly suspicious" of pathologists' claims they would charge patients about $30 for pap smears and more than $400 up-front for diabetes monitoring tests, to make up lost funding worth between $1.40 and $3.40.
Lawyer Margaret Faux, who is doing a PhD on Medicare compliance, rejected this, saying it would be illegal to both bulk-bill and charge a fee to cover the loss of the payments.


Bundled hospitals payments plan for maternity and stroke care

  • The Australian
  • January 20, 2016 12:00AM

Sean Parnell

Maternity care, stroke treatment and joint replacements in public hospitals are set for a shake-up as authorities seek new funding mechanisms and different models of care that can deliver savings to the health system.
The Independent Hospital Pricing Authority is consulting interest groups on a landmark shift to bundled pricing, whereby certain conditions would be covered under a package deal rather than payment for each episode of care.
The authority has highlighted the first three conditions because, clinically, they are relatively straightforward and, financially, any changes could deliver impressive returns to governments.
The high costs in stroke treatment would allow for changes to deliver “potentially significant savings” while uncomplicated ­maternity care involves “high-­volume services, meaning that small improvements in service ­delivery can result in significant savings to the health system”.

Pharmacy Issues.

Reconsider Panadol Osteo delisting in light of risks: Painaustralia

The PBS delisting of Panadol Osteo needs to be reconsidered in the light of cost and clinical safety implications, says Painaustralia.

The organisation has highlighted the risk of adverse clinical events resulting from chronic pain sufferers switching from Panadol Osteo following its delisting with Health Minister Sussan Ley.
In a letter to the Minister, Painaustralia CEO Lesley Brydon said the group has concerns that patients currently on Panadol Osteo might seek alternative PBS-subsidised therapies with poorer safety profiles, such as NSAIDS or opioids.
“Such a move by patients would clearly add to the complexity of their condition and negate any potential cost savings to government and the consumer,” Brydon says.
“Painaustralia is also concerned about the increased costs for patients arising from the delisting of Panadol Osteo which is currently the recommended first-line treatment for people suffering pain secondary to osteo-arthritis.”

Minor Ailments Scheme just a drug sales push: GP

The proposed Minor Ailments Scheme based in pharmacy is just “a push by the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacy business to increase drug sales under the guise of health innovation,” according to a prominent GP.

Writing in MJA Insight, Evan Ackermann, a GP at the University Medical Centre, Southern Cross University, Gold Coast, Queensland, and the chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners National Standing Committee – Quality Care, says that while a formal trial to investigate the feasibility of such a Scheme is necessary, a trial should also examine whether further regulatory measures are needed to protect patients.
“Unless integrity within the pharmacy industry is improved, MAS programs will simply become another mechanism to increase drug use in the community,” Dr Ackermann says.
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 being flown! Enjoy.

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