Free blood tests: Labor raises health pressure

Original article by Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 1 : 16-Apr-19

Healthcare is set to continue to dominate the federal election campaign, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to announce an expansion of Labor’s cancer care package on 16 April. Shorten will commit to providing free blood tests for cancer patients and older Australians, at a cost of $200m. This is in addition to Labor’s previously-announced $2.3bn cancer treatment plan. Meanwhile, Labor has rejected suggestions of a $5.8bn funding shortfall for its cancer policy, stating that the Health Department has advised that it has not costed the policy.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HEALTH, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Cancer doctors: Labor plan won’t cure system

Original article by Rosie Lewis, Sean Parnell
The Australian – Page: 1 & 7 : 9-Apr-19

Reaction to Labor’s $2.3 billion cancer treatment plan has been somewhat mixed. Its announcement has been welcomed by the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Radiologists and the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association. However, Ben Brady of the Private Cancer Physicians of Australia says his organisation rejects compulsory bulk-billing. Brady, who is also the director of haematology and medical oncology at Cabrini Health in Melbourne, adds that it is somewhat "un-Australian" to focus on just one disease.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND COLLEGE OF RADIOLOGISTS, AUSTRALIAN DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING ASSOCIATION, PRIVATE CANCER PHYSICIANS OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HEALTH, CABRINI HEALTH

Per capita health spend is falling, says academic

Original article by Andrew Tillett
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 5-Apr-19

Analysis of the April 2019 Budget papers by the Centre for the Health Economy shows that the federal government’s per capita spending on healthcare will rise by just 1.5 per cent in 2019-20. This compares with growth of 6.7 per cent in 2016-17. Per capita spending will grow by just 0.4 per cent between 2019-20 and 2022-23 when population growth is taken into account. Centre for the Health Economy director Henry Cutler adds that ending the freeze on Medicare rebates may not result in lower co-payments for visiting a GP.

CORPORATES
MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY. CENTRE FOR THE HEALTH ECONOMY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HEALTH

Shorten outbids on tax, health

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 5-Apr-19

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has used his Budget reply speech to advise that Labor will not support the second and third stages of the federal government’s income tax package. However, Labor will increase the low- and middle-income tax offset for people earning less than $37,000 year, while it will match the government’s rebate for those earning $48,000 to $90,000. Meanwhile, Labor will increase Medicare funding by $2.3bn over four years, in order to reduce the cost of cancer treatment and to list more cancer drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HUMAN SERVICES. MEDICARE AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Mediscare campaign aimed at marginals

Original article by Ben Packham
The Australian – Page: 2 : 25-Mar-19

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has advised that Labor will resume indexation of some Medicare benefits from July if it wins the federal election. Labor imposed the Medicare freeze in 2013, and it has been extended twice by the Coalition government. Shorten has indicated that the health system will be Labor’s top priority at the upcoming poll. He claims that the Liberals’ spending cuts mean that Australians are now paying more than ever to see a GP or a specialist. The Medicare freeze was slated to remain in place until July 2020.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HUMAN SERVICES. MEDICARE AUSTRALIA

Health Minister relents on opt-out

Original article by Sean Parnell
The Australian – Page: 6 : 15-Nov-18

The federal government has announced that consumers will now have until the end of January to opt out of the My Health Record system. The opt-out period had been slated to end on 15 November, after having previously been extended by a month. The 10-week extension will enable the government to make amendments to the My Health Record legislation to address concerns about privacy and security. Labor had sought a 12-month extension of the opt-out period.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HEALTH, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

GetUp! accused of strategy switch in support of Labor

Original article by Brad Norington
The Australian – Page: 4 : 7-Jun-18

The role of activist group GetUp in Labor’s "Mediscare" campaign during the 2016 federal election is under scrutiny. Liberal MP Ben Morton has questioned why GetUp put healthcare funding at the top of its campaign agenda for the election. He notes that the issue of Medicare ranked eighth in GetUp’s membership survey in 2015, but it suddenly ranked as a high priority in the election year. Morton alleges that GetUp switched its campaign focus in order to complement Labor’s Medicare campaign.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, GETUP LIMITED, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN GREENS, AUSTRALIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION

Emergency key to $1bn costs shift

Original article by Sean Parnell
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 24-Apr-18

Health insurers claim that they are being billed more $A1 billion a year for treatments in public hospitals that patients are otherwise entitled to receive for free. Much of the problem appears to lie with emergency admissions, with a 144 per cent increase in private emergency admissions over the past decade. The number of public patient admissions in the same period has only risen by 26 per cent. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has made it known that he wants changes to the way that emergency departments operate.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HEALTH, QUEENSLAND HEALTH

Reducing taxation and improving health benefits are major issues

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 19-Feb-18

A special Roy Morgan SMS survey, which was carried out from 9-12 February, shows that 22% of Australian electors mentioned Taxation issues, including lower taxes and tax reform, as the leading issue the Federal Government could address that would most benefit electors and their families. This is unchanged since the last time this question was asked in May 2010. A further 17% of electors mention Health issues, including private health insurance and Medicare/bulk billing (down 1% from May 2010), and an unchanged 13% mention Social welfare and the aged. Two issues now mentioned by 12% of electors are Quality of government/politicians and Reducing utilities/electricity/gas prices. Analysis of issues by voting intention shows that L-NP supporters (33%) are far more likely to mention Taxation-related issues than ALP supporters (24%). In contrast, ALP supporters (11%) are more concerned with general health issues than L-NP supporters (5%).

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Single medical bills one step too far as doctors stand their ground

Original article by Sean Parnell
The Australian – Page: Online : 3-Jan-18

Sussan Ley, who was federal health minister at the time, made an election commitment in 2016 that patients would receive a single medical bill covering all procedures and expenses. However, Michael Gannon, the president of the Australian Medical Association, says that is something his members would never agree to, saying it would place too much power in the hands of the person who would be charged with putting it together. The issue comes at a time of calls for greater transparency of medical fees and expenses.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HEALTH