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Public consultation on private health insurance

Health Minister Sussan Ley announced public consultation on private health insurance in her National Press Club address this week.

In her first Press Club address Minister Ley said the system needed more investigation, adding a national consumer consultation on private health insurance to the list of reviews underway.

“It is undeniable that Australia has a world class health system. It is fair and accessible. It has served us well. But its foundation is now close to 50 years old.”

She said each was a ‘part of the health puzzle’ that was the health system and all would contribute to discussions about changes to the health system.

She said health should be built around the patient and it was important to put patients at the centre of health care, acknowledging this did not always happen. And she highlighted challenges the system faces – including the changes in technology, patient expectations and the growing number of chronic conditions and the need for health reform. Minister Ley highlighted Australia’s ageing population with Australian’s living 11 years longer than 50 years ago.

Minister Ley considered a future where consumers carried their health records on phone apps and had greater control and influence on their interactions with health care professionals and promoted a system where patients were subjected to one round of testing. But she said her job was not to move funds from one part of the system to another, but to improve it as a whole.

“Like families; like businesses; Governments must manage their budget and do their best to balance the books as well. And just pouring money into the same inefficient system day after day, year after year, without complementary reform won’t necessarily deliver the improved outcomes we want.”

Discussing aged care, the Minister said quality in aged care is vital.

“Quality is really defined by the individual’s experience and expectations. I want Australia’s aged care system to have an approach to quality that understands and anticipates what’s important to the individual and then strives to exceed that,” she said.

Speech highlights:

  • Further debate about the fee-for-service model in managing chronic conditions
  • Next on the agenda: taking a closer look at residential aged care
  • Improved use of technology
  • Commitment to Australians having ‘access to information, choice and affordable health care’
  • Moving the My Aged Care Gateway to a TripAdvisor model – “to help older people make even more important life decisions”

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