Jeremy Sammut on the future of Medicare

From the Centre for Independent Studies. The theme of the story.

Bill Shorten’s promise that Labor will pour more money into public hospitals might have helped them win four by-elections on Saturday.

But it’s not good health policy. Higher spending on hospitals is not only financially unsustainable the long-run. It also amounts to propping up an outdated and fragmented Medicare system that continues to fund the same old GP and hospital services in same old way — services that fail to keep chronic patients well and out of hospital.

The book argues that, rather than obsess about the level of hospital funding, we need to start talking about how to modernise Medicare so the system can deliver the new, more affordable, and improved kinds of healthcare needed to address the rising burden of chronic disease in an ageing and sicker Australia.

Read the bookThe Future of Medicare? Health Innovation in 21st Century Australia — Jeremy Sammut (editor).

Health is the ‘third-rail’ of Australian politics.

But if the status quo prevails, and we do not overcome the formidable political obstacles to doing things differently in health, Medicare will not only become increasingly unaffordable.

Medicare – the so-called jewel in Australia’s social policy crown – will also be unable to meet the health needs of Australians in the most responsive and patient-centred way.

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21 Responses to Jeremy Sammut on the future of Medicare

  1. Infidel Tiger 2.0 (Premium Content Subscribers Only)

    We can either reform Medicare or introduce forced euthanasia.

    I know which is more likely.

  2. stackja

    But it’s not good health policy.

    ALP don’t care.

  3. Charles

    What Jeremy Sammut doesn’t understand is that it is not about providing hospital or medical services, it is about buying a voting constituency that is based in healthcare industries. Shorten doesn’t really care what they do with the money, so long as they vote ALP. The same syndrome is evident in education.

    If we had anyone but the coalition dullards we currently do in government, they would recognise that Shorten is diverting tax-payer funds into wasteful vote buying exercises. However, getting them to understand that would require a brain transplant or similar, and I don’t think that is eligible under the present Medicare.

  4. .

    How is Medicare simply not welfare?

    I’ve come to the impression that it just bids prices up.

    Perhaps we should remove Medicare payments if a medical provider charges more than the Medicare subsidy?

  5. Flyingduk

    I work in public hospitals…they are stacked to the ceiling with ever increasing hoards of ever fatter, ever sicker, ever more demanding, ever more dependent ‘entitlees’. They never stop coming. They are a tidal wave that will consume everything. Winter is coming…

  6. I gave up on private health insurance the moment that I could. All that my private health insurance premiums, on top of the Medicare levy, were doing was ostensibly paying for those that were always ill, especially large families that paid the same as I did for two people.

    I now happily put that $3000+/year into an emergency fund and pay for medical/dental costs as they arise. In the last seven years I’ve used but a fraction of the $21,000 that I’ve saved. Private health insurance never offered me any tangible benefits and even less now living in rural Victoria.

    Given that I still have to pay a Medicare levy, we’re still funding those families. That said, my wife did need hospital care a few years back and received excellent service from the regional public hospital. It would have been a nightmare in Melbourne.

    And when you need surgery, it’s the same old methods and services that are required. So I can’t quite fathom what this means:

    …we need to start talking about how to modernise Medicare so the system can deliver the new, more affordable, and improved kinds of healthcare needed to address the rising burden of chronic disease in an ageing and sicker Australia.

    It really sounds like the usual corporate speak of becoming agile, leverage best practice, shift the paradigm etc.

  7. vagabond

    Medicare, the sacred cow of the Liars party, was never about improving health care for the Australian people. It is purely and simply a “free stuff” vote buying exercise which is an unsustainable open ended money handout. It has had the effect of reducing incomes and standards in General Practice – a group that could never protest about it without being labeled as greedy doctors. Once the College of GPs sold its soul to the government in exchange for mickey mouse “specialist” status for its members, the last opposition to it faded away.

    Few people now remember the Fraser health scheme that preceded Medicare – it worked very well and restricted government benefits to pensioners. With the explosion in dependents hanging on the government teat the contrast would not be so great today.

    Inept attempts by both sides of politics to introduce a co-payment into bulk billing have only fueled hysterical ALP propaganda that only they can “defend end extend Medicare” and that the other side wants to destroy it. Real reform of Medicare can only happen once a price signal is introduced – a very tall order indeed. Without it the financial drain will only increase exponentially as the population grows and more of them are welfare dependent.

  8. Up The Workers!

    I heard that if elected, Bull Shitten and the Australian Liars’ Party definitely plan 100%, to totally gut Medicare.

    If you want to see Medicare utterly abolished, vote for Bull Shitten and his multi-millionaire Union Boss pals.

    I can’t quite recall just where I heard that, but I’m sure that his name was closely and repetitively associated with the threat.

  9. Nerblnob

    Have we reached Peak Other People’s Money yet?

  10. The BigBlueCat

    stackja
    #2783093, posted on August 7, 2018 at 2:48 pm
    But it’s not good health policy.

    ALP don’t care.

    I definitely agree – ALP policies are designed only to get them elected on the basis of popularity not effectiveness, which is why they get turfed out after a couple of seasons. Obviously the same can be said of LNP policies.

    What we need is a party that takes a longer-term view of the issues, not a single election cycle. Pity we don’t have one of those ….

  11. Roger

    Few people now remember the Fraser health scheme that preceded Medicare – it worked very well and restricted government benefits to pensioners.

    Fraser inherited Whitlam’s Medibank, increased the levy to 2.5% (!), but you could opt for private insurance instead at much more affordable rates than presently on offer. There was no limit of Medibank funded service to pensioners; it was an attempt to both fund and limit a universal public heatlth scheme.

  12. Leon L

    “how to modernise Medicare so the system can deliver the new, more affordable, and improved kinds of healthcare needed to address the rising burden of chronic disease in an ageing and sicker Australia”

    A load of the usual administrative bull dust.

    As a second year medical student (long ago), my class was burdened with listening to a Canberra bureaucrat implore us not to spend too much of his dollars with our pens.
    At the time Administration cost about 6-7% of the Health budget.
    The cancer of government unchecked has led to the administrative cost of health being more than 50%.
    Almost every year we have more new ways to prevent something and make the system work.
    At the coal face, it’s gone from one letter getting the problem solved (back in the day) to ten letters needing another 10 letters and nothing happens.
    The cause of the problem is never last year’s half baked government thought bubble.

    Fortunately the CIS already has the answer.

    href=”http://www.cis.org.au/app/uploads/2015/07/pm102.pdf”

  13. Herodotus

    The media continue to give the ALP a pass every time they say they are for Health and Education.
    It’s a big scam, but there you go.
    Politics is broken.

  14. duncanm

    Bill Shorten’s promise that Labor will pour more money into public hospitals might have helped them win four by-elections on Saturday.

    But it’s not good health policy.

    its not supposed to be. Its purely there to buy more medical (overheads)-staff union members.

  15. The cancer of government unchecked has led to the administrative cost of health being more than 50%.

    That’s a fact. My wife works as an rural Ambulance Community Officer, a volunteer position that only pays for actually going on the road on a call out, as Victoria can’t afford anything more. Even a simple admission to the local regional hospital takes an enormous amount of time with the paperwork before they can leave and be available once more.

    And all of this paperwork has to be done on the specific system at the hospital, so any glitches and it’s wait until things are working again. Things used to be simple, just fill out some paperwork, but now it’s complicated in the name of efficiency. Perhaps it’s part of our ingenious electronic health record.

  16. John Constantine

    Keeping people alive in their last stages will become more expensive with new treatments.

    Australia has mass imported millions of people since the two towers went down, now the demographic surge that created the property Ponzi is ten years away from demanding and voting for the poor bastard bankrupt country fund stem cell and rebuilt DNA and transplant Ponzis.

    See how the imported client herds boost GDP now by flooding free medical services, once the demographic surge hits the truly expensive end of life stage, it will make the baby boomer predictions pale.

    Comrades.

  17. MACK

    The waiting time to get onto the waiting list is the dirty little secret of all government funded health systems around the world. Countries such as the Netherlands, Singapore and Norway who have looked at this from an objective point of view have all come to the conclusion that the best system is a tightly regulated private health insurance arrangement like our superannuation system. A nationalised health scheme, like most socialist ideas, cause maximum adverse impact on the less well off.

  18. Rococo Liberal

    Why is Mr Sammut confusing the provision of healthcare and the means of paying for it?

  19. Andre Lewis

    WE have too many GPs all trying to earn a living in metro areas rather than the bush so they invite over-servicing. As many bulk bill they are basically public servants who can set their own remuneration which is uniquely poor policy. Govt could set a certain amount of Medicare provider numbers suitable for an area and once those are used up a prospective GP without one could hang up a shingle and charge for their services. Should sort out the ones sick people really want to treat them.

  20. Gilas

    bemused
    #2783176, posted on August 7, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    I gave up on private health insurance the moment that I could. All that my private health insurance premiums, on top of the Medicare levy, were doing was ostensibly paying for those that were always ill, especially large families that paid the same as I did for two people.

    But.. but… but.. who will think of the obese, pre-diabetic children?

    Yours is a totally sensible solution.

    Just last week I was “lectured’ by a Hunters Hill Krug champagne communist about my gall in restricting unnecessary treatment for a patient who was clearly dying. All while said commo repeatedly allowed the wasting of a precious resource (blood transfusion), against all clinical guidelines. (The patient died less than 24 hours later.)

    Leftards have no brains, introspection, common-sense or clue. They’re evil to the core!

  21. Chris M

    Is Sammut a doctor?

    Bemused I’m with you, self insured for medical. Get dental and some medical done overseas, cheap and better quality + service than what I can get here.

    But be aware that even serious issues such as some types of spinal surgery are now being shunted to the optional / waiting list for up to twelve months; this can be quite expensive if paying from your pocket.

    But

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