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Senate committee report endorses Democrats' health policy.

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Senator Meg Lees Parliamentary Leader and Senator for South Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Health

Press Release Dated: 7 Dec 2000

Press Release Number: 00/745 Portfolio: Health 

Senate Committee Report endorses Democrats’ Health Policy The findings of the Senate Community Affairs Committee Report Healing our Hospitals, tabled today in Parliament, endorse the Democrats’ call for a new approach to the public health system.

Democrats’ Leader and member of the Community Affairs Committee, Senator Meg Lees, said that in light of the Committee’s findings, it is now time to adopt the Democrats’ proposal for a trial of a new health funding system.

“Earlier this year, after three years of consultation with the health sector, the Democrats launched a campaign for an alternative model of health funding and service delivery,” said Senator Lees.

“The Democrats’ model involves pooling all health and community care funding from Commonwealth and State/Territory governments. The pooled funding would be allocated on a regional basis throughout Australia.

“The Democrats believe that pooling of funding allows more flexibility and greater coordination between services,” said Senator Lees.

“The Senate Committee heard overwhelming evidence that current funding arrangements for health and community services do not maximise either efficiency or health outcomes.

“Under the current system, federal and state governments have a financial incentive to shift responsibility for providing health care elsewhere, to reduce their own costs.

“This results in the misdirection and inappropriate use of health care resources and costs the community millions of dollars a year.

“Under the Democrats’ model, the current incentives for cost-shifting would be removed as would the arguments between state and federal governments over health funding.

“I welcome the Opposition’s commitment to the findings of the Report.

“However, while the Government and the Opposition both support the uncapped and non-means tested private health insurance rebate, I am concerned that any increase in health funding will be diverted from the public hospital sector into more private health insurance subsidies.

“Health Minister Michael Wooldridge and Shadow Minister Jenny Macklin must come clean on how they will pay for the cost blow-out in the private health insurance rebate and still give our struggling public hospitals the funding they so desperately need.

“I call on both parties to show their commitment to a new approach to public hospital funding by supporting our recommendation for two trials of the Democrats’ integrated health funding model in the ACT and the Hunter Valley,” Senator Lees concluded.


Top | Email | Tell us what you think Authorised by: Jim Downey, 10 Brisbane Avenue, Barton ACT 2604. Copyright © 2000 Australian Democrats Last modified: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:51:26 Today: Tue, 12 Dec 2000 13:28:14