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AUS: Review Of The Health System

Dr Michael Wooldridge

5 August 1999

Review Of The Health System

The Federal Government has considered the request by State and Territory leaders for a review of Australia's health care system and does not believe such a review would be productive.

Australia has an excellent health care system, which is widely regarded as the best universal access model in the world.

The Federal Government is committed to Medicare. Under such circumstances it cannot see any useful purpose in spending 18 months reviewing a system it supports.

Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, Dr Michael Wooldridge, said today the Australian public wanted action from governments, not further reviews of the system.

"Over the past two years, the Federal Government has moved to solve the intractable shortage of doctors in rural and regional areas," Dr Wooldridge said.

"We are working to make private health insurance better value for families by providing a 30 per cent rebate, and addressing the gap with legislation.

"In addition, our commitment to the public hospital system was reflected by last year's record $7.5 billion funding increase - amounting to a 17 per cent rise over five years."

Only two years ago the Productivity Commission conducted a review of the private health sector, with the major recommendations already in place.

The Federal Government is trialling major reforms through the Coordinated Care trials that were yesterday hailed by Monash University Professor Chris Silagy as unparalled in their scope anywhere in the world.

The Federal Government remains willing and enthusiastic to work with the states and territories to further improve the health system, provided the goals are consistent with the Commonwealth's commitments, including a strong commitment to Medicare.

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