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Health Care (Appropriation) Amendment Bill 2008

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2008

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HEALTH CARE (APPROPRIATION) AMENDMENT BILL 2008

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP)





HEALTH CARE (APPROPRIATION) AMENDMENT BILL 2008

 

OUTLINE

 

The Health Care (Appropriation) Amendment Bill 2008 would amend the Health Care (Appropriation) Act 1998 (the Act).  

 

The Act provides the legislative basis and the standing appropriation for financial assistance under the Australian Health Care Agreements (AHCAs).  The AHCAs are the main funding agreements between the Commonwealth and the states and territories for public hospital services.  The current standing appropriation expires on 30 June 2008 and is capped at $42,010,000,000.

 

The amendments proposed in this Bill would extend the current 5 year appropriation period to 6 years, and would appropriate from the Consolidated Revenue Fund an amount not exceeding $52,260,000,000 , being an increase of $ 10,250,000,000 to the current appropriation.

 

The amendments proposed by this Bill will enable the transitional health funding arrangements agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) at its meeting on 26 March 2008 to be implemented.  The amendments allow continuity of funding to the states and territories during the 2008-09 transitional year.

 

COAG also agreed that new health care agreements would be developed during the course of 2008-09 with a commencement date for the new funding arrangements of 1 July 2009.  Implementation of these arrangements under the Act would require further amendment at a later date.

 

Financial Impact Statement

 

The amounts involved are estimated to be $10,250,000,000. $500,000,000 is to be paid to the states and territories before the end of 2007-08 and hospital funding grants of around $9,750,000,000 are to be made to the states and territories during the 2008-09 financial year, based on 2007-08 payments plus indexation.

 

 



HEALTH CARE (APPROPRIATION) AMENDMENT BILL 2008

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1: Short Title

 

Clause 1 is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Bill.

 

Clause 2: Commencement

 

The Bill will commence on the day it receives Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3: Schedule(s)

 

Clause 3 states that each Act that is specified in a Schedule to this Bill is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in that Schedule, and any other item has effect according to its terms.

 

SCHEDULE 1 - AMENDMENT OF THE HEALTH CARE (APPROPRIATION) ACT 1998

 

Item 1

 

Item 1 would amend the definition of “appropriation period” contained in section 3 of the Act.  Paragraph (b) of the definition currently provides that the appropriation period means the period of 5 years starting on 1 July 2003.

 

This item amends paragraph (b) from 5 years to 6 years.  Item 1 would extend the current appropriation period from 1 July 2003-30 June 2008 to 1 July 2003-30 June 2009.

 

Item 2

 

Item 2 would amend paragraph 4(3)(b) to provide that the total amount that can be paid by way of financial assistance under the current standing appropriation in the Act is $52,260,000,000.

 

Subsection 4(1) of the Act provides that the Minister may grant financial assistance to a State, or to a hospital or other person for the purpose of providing, or paying for, health and emergency services of a kind that are currently, or were historically, provided by hospitals.

 

Subsection 4(1) of the Act also provides that the Minister may grant financial assistance to a State, or to a hospital or other person for the purpose of funding projects or programs that are designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of, or reduce the demand for, health and emergency services of a kind or kinds that are currently, or were historically, provided by hospitals, or, to improve patient outcomes in respect of the delivery of such services.

 

Subsection 4(2) of the Act provides that financial assistance under section 4 is only payable in respect of services provided, or projects or programs conducted, during an appropriation period.

 

Subsection 4(3) provides the total amount of financial assistance under section 4 must not exceed, in respect of the 1 July 2003-30 June 2008 appropriation period, $42,010,000,000.

 

Together, Item 1 and Item 2 would make the total amount of financial assistance payable under section 4 of the Act the amount of $52,260,000,000 in respect of 1 July 2003-30 June 2009.