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The unhealthy state of Australia's health



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fc, MEDIA RELEASE ^ DR BOB WOODS Shadow Minister for Health

THE UNHEALTHY STATE O F AUSTRALIA’S HEALTH

Federal Shadow Minister for Health has today issued the first of a series of fact sheets which will highlight" The Unhealthy State of Australia's Health

" Australia's Health system is in urgent need of fundamental structural reform " said Dr Woods.

" The problems highlighted in " The Unhealthy State of Australia's Health " will range from shortfalls in the Medicare Levy and the real cost of health, to delays in particular drug evaluations, to public hospital waiting lists that mean people can wait up to 2 years for cataract removal or hip replacement.

" For too long people have people lulled into a false sense of security about the efficiency of Medicare.

It is only when they are ill and vulnerable that they realise its shortcomings.

To date the Government has announced only bandaid measures which fail to acknowledge or address the inequity of waiting lists, the under utilisation of the private sector and the need to reduce the escalating burden on the public purse.

These fact sheets will aim to make people aware of the problems of our present health system so they are able to make an informed choice about their health care."

10th September 1991

For further information contact Dr Woods or Leisa O'Connor on 06 277 4661. After hours contact Dr Woods 06 295 1800.

Shadow Minister for Health

The Unhealthy State of Australia’s Health Fact Sheet No: 1

The current 1.25% Medicare levy is expected to raise only $2.58 billion this year. This is less than one fifth of the expected health expenditure of $13.7 billion.

Who pays the difference? The public: via their taxes, via their private health insurance premiums, via the gap.

So much for the Government encouraged myth that the Medicare Levy provides free, easy access to health care.

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For further information contact Dr Woods or Leisa O'Connor on 06 277 4661. After hours contact Dr Woods 06 295 1800.

Dr Bob Woods Shadow Minister for Health

The Unhealthy Australia’s IllMlll

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Between 60 - 70,000 people per day are waiting on public hospital waiting lists - waiting for vital operations like hip replacements and cataract removals.

Ironically at the same time, each day, there are 7 - 8,000 private hospital beds empty. Private hospitals are, on average, only 55% full, leading to significant inefficiencies.

Yet another of the illogical and cruel inconsistencies of Australia’s health care system which Minister Howe won’t rectify because of his ideological bent against private health care.

11 September 1991

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY M iCAH

For further information contact Dr Woods or Leisa O'Connor on 06 277 4661. After hours contact D r Woods 06 295 1800.

f c * Dr Bob Woods τ ί Shadow Minister for Health

The Unhealthy State of Australia’s Health

In 1984, shortly after Labor came to power, bulkbilling was introduced. At that stage 113 million claims were made under Medicare for medical services. By 1989 this had skyrocketed to 145 million claims.

During this period there was no significant increase in the size or average age of the population nor significant changes to the Medicare schedule.

It is no coincidence that NSW, which has the highest use of medical services per head of population, also has the highest level of bulkbilling.

How much longer can the Government continue to deny that bulkbilling leads to overservicing and overusage and wastes

For further information contact Dr Woods or Leisa O'Connor on 06 277 4661. After hours contact Dr Woods 06 295 1800.

Fact Sheet No: 3

taxpayers money?

12 September 1991