This section currently contains full-text articles written by Doctors Reform Society members, however every view expressed is not necessarily that of the DRS. Also see Andrew Gunn’s articles.
“The report card on public hospital performance released by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) yesterday showing a nationwide deterioration in the capacity of those hospitals to care for the 54% of Australians without private health insurance”, said Dr Tim Woodruff, president, Doctors Reform Society. “These are real people with major health problems. Many could be working, increasing Australia’s productivity. Many could be managing to live without the support of their relatives, releasing them to add to Australia’s productivity. They have been forgotten by a parsimonious Federal Government which can easily find extra taxes to subsidise private health insurance but not to pay its share of public hospital funding. These patients’ preventable pain and suffering is ignored.”
“The news of a likely 5% private health insurance hike again this year means another $250 million in taxes gifted to the very profitable private health insurance industry whose leaders are enjoying a 30% plus rise in remuneration over the last few years, said Dr Tim Woodruff, president,” Doctors Reform Society. “It comes as ongoing research (the Household Financial Comfort Report) shows unsurprisingly that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting relatively poorer.”
“Meanwhile the Federal Government’s continues its heartless punishment of Centrelink welfare recipients irrespective of whether they are defrauding or not, leading to completely unnecessary and stressful situations for some of the most vulnerable in the community, some of whom are almost certainly on 3 year public hospital waiting lists, never dreaming of taxpayer subsidised private health insurance.”
5th Dec 2016
The Medicare rebate freeze is here to stay. Despite the Federal Government announcing it had heard the electorate expressing their concerns about Medicare at the election the Prime Minister is ploughing on, claiming that savings must be made, that people should pay a copayment if they can, and anyway the bulk billing rate is going up so patients aren’t missing out.
Do savings need to be made?
Countries increase their spending on health care as they get richer. In the last decade Australia has increased spending on health care from 8.8% of GDP to 10%, a figure very slightly above the median for OECD countries (1). Our budget deficit is lower than almost every OECD country.
23rd Jul 2016
A FAIR GO OR SHOULD WE TAX PEOPLE WHO ARE UNLUCKY ENOUGH TO BE SICK?
Do our leaders believe in a fair go? The Prime Minister has stated that he and Lucy have been lucky and observed that “there are taxi drivers that work harder than I ever have and they don’t have much money”. Read more
26th Apr 2016
Published in the age on Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Amanda Vanstone claims the Health Minister understands efficiency (Comment, 25/4). However, Sussan Ley’s view of efficiency is selective. Documented savings of $1 billion per year would be made if the government paid world market prices for pharmaceuticals. But it refuses to tackle the issue and continues to receive donations from the pharmaceutical industry. Also, some $8 billion is spent on the inefficient private health insurance rebate.
26th Apr 2016
Published in Australian on Tuesday, April 26, 2016
The claim that there are huge unnecessary costs in the health system is one we have been pointing out for years. It is encouraging that the Federal Government is showing some limited interest in this issue. The approach however, is half hearted. It continues to ignore the $1 billion savings which could be achieved if our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme paid world market prices for drugs. Thus for the the breast cancer treatment Arimidex, the taxpayer pays 30 times more than in Britain, and for cholesterol lower drugs it costs 10 times as much in Australia than in both Britian and New Zealand. But pharmaceutical companies are good political donors.
7th Sep 2016
The Doctors Reform Society of Australia is concerned about the potential adverse health and societal impacts of two aspects of the Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016.
1. The bill proposes a $1.3 billion cut to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) over the coming 5 years. Many renewable energy researchers believe this likely to have serious negative impacts on renewable energy science in this country.
As a health organisation, we recognise the serious threat that climate change poses to health, both now and increasingly in the future. International health researchers believe climate change to be the biggest global health threat of our century. We believe that Australia needs to play a vigorous role in mitigating climate change. Clean energy technologies will be a vital part of such mitigation.
Cutting funding to such mitigation efforts would be a serious false economy.
2. The bill proposes to cut $4.40 per week from the energy supplement to Newstart recipients. New Newstart recipients receive a payment significantly below the poverty line, and this new cut would reportedly take these people 32% below the poverty line. International evidence finds that less generous unemployment payments are associated with poorer return-to-work outcomes. Inequality and poverty are important drivers of poor health outcomes.
We ask that the committee strike these budget measures from the bill. Indeed, we believe Australia should go further than this, and increase support for renewable energy and unemployed people.
Dr Brett Montgomery
on behalf of the Doctors Reform Society
24th Jul 2016
Submission to the Productivity Commission regarding the public inquiry into the increased application of competition, contestability and informed user choice to human services
Thank you for the opportunity to provide a submission.
The Doctors Reform Society is an organisation of doctors and medical students whose aim is to have a health system and a society which optimises the health of Australians. Affordable timely access to high quality culturally appropriate health care is one key to that.