Sunday, July 13, 2014

Face up to health challenge

April 28. 2013 10:58PM
Story Tools
PrintPrint | E-MailEMail | SaveSave | Hear Generate QR Code QR
Send to Kindle

Our politicians are only forestalling the inevitable by refusing to face up to the historic challenges in health funding.

Shaping up on ABC1’s Q&A on Monday, federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and her opposition counterpart Peter Dutton were quickly bogged down in the minutiae of political diagnoses and second opinions.

Sure, the blame game between state and federal governments over health has not ended, and sure, it is difficult to determine where sensible support for private health insurance ends and middle-class welfare begins. But politicians could go from the humidity crib to the palliative care bed trying to outbid each other while avoiding the main issue.

This week’s Grattan Institute report about the budget pressures on Australian governments pointed out that 19 percent of expenditure was spent on health.

Access to expensive technology kicks in even before conception through IVF, and may improve our lives through laser surgery and subsidized medicines, before new procedures and drugs extend our twilight years and smooth our passing. Potential health expenses from cradle to grave are almost limitless.

At some stage, politicians will have to grapple with the tough choices about what should be standard care and what is not. Glib lines about everyone having access to the world’s best care may sound like social justice but the promise, in reality, is not deliverable.

Increasingly the critical questions will be about the universal standard governments are prepared to offer public patients, whether co-payments may play a role for some treatments, and how private insurance can constrain the burden on the public system.

The Australian, Sydney

comments powered by Disqus Commenting Guidelines
Mortgage Minute

Search for New & Used Cars

Used New All

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just the home you want!

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just what you need!

Search Pet Classifieds
Dogs Cats Other Animals

Social Media/RSS
Times Leader on Twitter
Times Leader on Youtube
Times Leader on Google+
The Times Leader on Tumblr
The Times Leader on Pinterest
Times Leader RSS Feeds