Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Prime Minister Abbott is out of the country so, as expected, another little bombshell dismantling a fair and equitable Australia is exploded

An Abbott government push to allow private health insurers to cover GP visits would create a US-style two-tier health system and drive up doctors' fees, experts warn.
The Sun-Herald has learnt Health Minister Peter Dutton told senior health sector sources in private meetings he is keen on the idea of allowing private insurers into GP clinics. However, any change would require amendments to legislation.
Under the current Medicare system, all Australians - whether they are public or private patients - can expect similar quality of care when they visit their doctors.
Experts say changing this to create two classes of GP patients would revolutionise Australian healthcare and potentially undermine Medicare more than the government's proposed $7 co-payment.
The revolution has begun quietly through controversial trials undertaken in Queensland.
Medibank Private members are receiving guaranteed appointments within 24 hours and after-hours home visits.
An expansion of such trials which would provide superior GP services to private patients could endanger Australia's world-class healthcare system, Australian Medical Association president Brian Owler said.
"It would be a fundamental change in the way that general practice is funded," Professor Owler said, adding the AMA was open to insurers being more involved in primary healthcare but the government needed to proceed with caution.
"If people go too far or the role of private health insurers is unchecked then, yes, it could have very significant consequences and produce greater inequity. We have a good healthcare system in Australia and the US model is not one we should be trying to emulate.''….

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