Medicare Reform: Conflicts between Two Political Minds

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On Tuesday May 13th 2014, the Coalition’s federal budget 2014/15 has been announced by Joe Hockey, the Treasurer, for House of Representatives’ discussion. The budget, as Tony Abbot, the Prime Minister described as “tough but necessary decision”, has proposed many budgetary changes including temporary 2% tax increase on high income earners, twice yearly fuel excise indexation, pension age increase, tightening the amount and eligibility of family and welfare pay, higher education budget cut with fee deregulation, and reform on health care system. Among these modifications, Medicare program, the compulsory universal public health care insurance scheme that most Australian citizens have taken for granted for 30 years, will be under major transformation. These include the introduction of patient co-payment for health services, freezing indexation of Medicare Benefits Schedule fees and Private Health Insurance Rebate thresholds, along with major federal budget cut for hospital funding (Budget Overview 2014, pp. IV, 3). This Medicare reconstruction, if legitimately approved, will likely and largely affect the lives and health of millions of Australian residents. Thus, it is both rational and essential to watch the development of the event closely and be consciously prepared for the change and its implications in the near future. Since Medicare co-payment introduction is most likely the concern of a vast number of Australian people, this essay will explain and examine its brief historical timeline of the issue as well as its debated arguments from both points of view. The story of Medicare reform initially came up not so long time after the Coalition took control of the federal government. Australian Centre for Health Research, a thin... ... middle of paper ... ...berra. Crowe, D 2014, ‘Labor blocks path to fiscal fix’, The Australian, 16 May, viewed 17 May 2014. The Australian Archives database. Doggett, J 2014, Empty Pockets: Why Co-payments are not the solution, Consumer Health Forum of Australia, March 2014. National Commission of Audit 2014, The Report of the National Commission of Audit – Phase One, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra. Parnell, S 2014, ‘Joe Hockey challenges GPs over $7 co-payment’, The Australian, 15 May, viewed 17 May 2014, The Australian Archives database. Taylor, R 2014, `Australia debates whether it has a debt crisis’, Wall Street Journal, 7 May, viewed 22 May 2014, The Wall Street Journal database. Woolf, S, Husten, C, Lewin, S, Marks, J, Fielding, J, Sanchez, E 2009. ‘The Economic argument for disease prevention: Distinguishing between value and savings’, Partnership for Prevention.

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