Health and Health Care
This page is from the 2016 election campaign. I am leaving it here as a record.
Firstly, I believe that one layer of government should be responsible for
healthcare. This may require a referendum. I don't have a strong view of
whether state governments of the federal government should be responsible,
but I am leaning towards the federal government as the federal government
is the one that collects most of the taxes. I realise a change like that
is not going to happen anytime soon.
We can always get a better health care system by spending more money on it.
But as a believer in responsible budgets, I am going to suggest areas
where we can spend more money and areas when we can save money. I am
concious of the fact that some of those suggestions fall into the area
of state responsibility. But as state and federal responsibilities are
so intertwined, I decided to write them down anyway.
We should spend more money on the following:
But there also some areas where savings can be made.
- Emergency care. When people have a medical emergency,
they don't have the option to go elsewhere if emergency departments
are inadequate. Therefore those departments should be well resourced.
- One-off medical procedures that are essential for
quality of life. I believe that people should
not be limping around in pain while they are slowly progressing up the
waiting list for a knee or hip replacement (for example).
- The government should reduce medicare rebates for
services that have become cheaper as technology has improved.
There was an excellent
article in the Sydney Morning Herald about this.
- Although I am not in a position to quantify this, I have come across
plenty of stories where futile medical treatment was continued for
people who were dying, often against the wishes of the relatives.
This is a waste of medical resources that does not really benefit
the patient. We should be more willing to say that the time for
treatment is over and the time has come to move on to palliative care.
- The rationale behind the health insurance rebate is that the goverment
saves money when people have their medical needs serviced privately.
So as an incentive there is a rebate.
But the health insurance rebate covers various types of services
that are not covered by medicare.
I believe that health insurers should be required to unbundle
their insurance products so that insurance for services that are
also covered by medicare is sold separately from insurance for
other services. The rebate should then not apply to insurance
for other services.
I also believe that there are a lot of initiatives that fall outside
the area of healthcare, yet impact on the health of the population.
As an example, if we have pleasant and safe areas to walk and cycle near where
we live, we are more likely to walk and cycle for recreation and transport
and be healthier as a result.
In and around Barton, we are well endowed with suitable parklands and bike paths.
But other areas are not so fortunate.