Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Colour-Coded Health Funding

Colour-Coded Health Funding

Heather Roy Speech to Christchurch Conference, March 2004

My major area of responsibility is health and, recently, I've been highlighting the insidious onset of race-based funding - especially in primary care.

Most people don't realise that General Practice is currently being restructured. GPs have been working effectively as owner-operators, but this structure is now being replaced with Health Minister Annette King's Primary Health Organisations or PHOs.

Primary Health Organisations were originally intended to be one-stop shops: with doctors, nurses, chemists, physiotherapists and other health professionals all under the one roof. But all that has happened with this new Government strategy is that GPs - content as owner-operators - have changed their governance structure with the prerequisite additional layer of bureaucracy. Funding is structured in such a way that those GPs who don't sign up to the PHO system are financially disadvantaged and their patients won't receive cheap healthcare. Voluntary compulsion comes to mind!

But the larger problem with the PHOs is the funding because it is based on race. This is best described with an example:

Here are two 40-year old men earning the same amount and with the same family commitments and health needs but living in different parts of New Zealand. They do not have the same access to their family doctor. The man living in Gisborne can see his GP for $15 a visit but the man living in Newlands, Wellington must pay $50 to see his doctor. The man in Gisborne benefits from living in an area where the population is mostly Maori and the PHO therefore receives a race-based loading of 20 percent. All of these people in the same Primary Health Organisation as him benefit from the cheaper healthcare. The man in Newlands lives in a predominantly white area so his PHO doesn't get the race loading and he has to pay the much higher fee.

I've been saying for some time that this situation is unfair and this week I wrote to Trevor Mallard in his new position of Coordinating Minister for Race Relations. His brief is to conduct a review of government policies. Previously Helen Clark was adamant that all policies were based on need, not race. Now, however, the review will examine all policies to see if they really are based on need.

The Prime Minister likened Mr Mallard's new job to "taking a helicopter view" and said he would look generally at race and Treaty issues. I have asked him to take a special look at the funding for Primary Health Organisations because the race loading that some PHOs receive is clearly an example of race-based funding as opposed to funding based on need.

Another example I used in my letter was one I have recently used in Parliament to explain the race loading on some PHOs.

A Minister of the Crown, earning a Ministerial salary of $195,000 a year, living in Tolaga Bay, is eligible for $10 visits to his local doctor, but a man living in Invercargill earning just $20,000 must pay $45 - $55 for a visit to his doctor. Health need is not a consideration in this case. The inequity of the situation for the man earning almost 90% less arises because he doesn't live in an area with a favourable racial mix.

I look forward to Mr Mallard's inclusion of Primary Health Organisation funding in his helicopter view.

At Parliament we have just completed the first session of the year. This has been four weeks with a very different feel to it than the previous eighteen months and I have to say it has been great. No longer is the government leading from the front. No longer is the National Party on the back foot. And most importantly ACT messages - remember the billboard from last election? Messages you and I have been promoting for many years are now the mainstream. ACT has always been a party of influence but soon we intend to be influencing from the government benches.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news