Cheaper medicines and a new approach for mental health care. Will the budget make us healthier?
The Conversation » Health Economics
by Peter Breadon, Program Director, Health and Aged Care, Grattan Institute, Anika Stobart, Senior Associate, Grattan Institute
1M ago
Shutterstock Health was a centrepiece of last year’s budget, based on a new vision for Medicare. This year, there is less health reform, but the budget does set the foundation for a new approach to community-based mental health care. The themes of reducing cost-of-living pressures, and expanding care in the community to keep people out of hospital, span several key initiatives. Here’s what the budget means for the health system and Australians’ access to care. A new approach to mental health services Many Australians are missing out on the mental health support they need, with the biggest pro ..read more
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It’s so hard to see a doctor right now. What are my options?
The Conversation » Health Economics
by Anthony Scott, Professor of Health Economics, Monash University
1M ago
David Fuentes Prieto/Shutterstock Deciding whether to wait and see if your health condition improves or go to a GP can be a difficult task. You might be unsure about where to go, whom to see, how much it will cost and whether you’ll need to take time off work. These choices can create significant barriers to accessing health care in Australia. There is often limited information available about the pros and cons of the different options. Often, we stick to what we know, unaware of better alternatives. But making the wrong decision about how to access care can impact both your health and finance ..read more
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A tax on sugary drinks can make us healthier. It’s time for Australia to introduce one
The Conversation » Health Economics
by Peter Breadon, Program Director, Health and Aged Care, Grattan Institute, Jessica Geraghty, Senior Associate, Grattan Institute
1M ago
Leah Newhouse/Pexels Sugary drinks cause weight gain and increase the risk of a range of diseases, including diabetes. The evidence shows that well-designed taxes can reduce sugary drink sales, cause people to choose healthier options and get manufacturers to reduce the sugar in their drinks. And although these taxes haven’t been around long, there are already signs that they are making people healthier. It’s time for Australia to catch up to the rest of the world and introduce a tax on sugary drinks. As our new Grattan Institute report shows, doing so could mean the average Australian drinks ..read more
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Clearing the elective surgery backlog will take more than one budget. It’ll need major reform
The Conversation » Health Economics
by Henry Cutler, Professor and Director, Macquarie University Centre for the Health Economy, Macquarie University
1M ago
Oleg Ivanov IL/Shutterstock Waiting times for public hospital elective surgery have been in the news ahead of this year’s federal budget. That’s the type of non-emergency surgery that covers everything from removing cysts to hip replacements. The Australian Medical Association (AMA), a powerful doctors’ lobby group, has called on the federal government to allocate more than A$2 billion over two years to reduce elective surgery waiting times. While the Albanese government pledged this week to spend more on public hospitals, a substantial reduction in elective surgery waiting times won’t happen ..read more
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GP clinics are going to pay more payroll tax, which could reduce bulk billing
The Conversation » Health Economics
by Stephen Duckett, Honorary Enterprise Professor, School of Population and Global Health, and Department of General Practice and Primary Care, The University of Melbourne, Fiona McDonald, Associate Professor at the Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Queensland University of Technology
1M ago
stockfour/Shutterstock Preliminary bulk billing data released this week shows a 2.1% rise in bulk billing up to March. This comes after the government tripled the incentive payment for GPs to bulk bill concession-card holders and children under 16 for most consultations. The new data confirms the December-quarter data, which shows the increased bulk billing incentive, announced in the 2023 budget, arrested the decline in bulk billing caused by the almost decade-long freeze in rebates under the previous government. The decline in bulk billing rates was affecting access to care. About 1.2 millio ..read more
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When supplies resume, should governments subsidise drugs like Ozempic for weight loss? We asked 5 experts
The Conversation » Health Economics
by Fron Jackson-Webb, Deputy Editor and Senior Health Editor
1M ago
Rostislav_Sedlacek/Shutterstock Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are taking drugs like Ozempic to lose weight. But what do we actually know about them? This month, The Conversation’s experts explore their rise, impact and potential consequences. You’ve no doubt heard of Ozempic but have you heard of Wegovy? They’re both brand names of the drug semaglutide, which is currently in short supply worldwide. Ozempic is a lower dose of semaglutide, and is approved and used to treat diabetes in Australia. Wegovovy is approved to treat obesity but is not yet available in Australia. Shortages of ..read more
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Why the pathology bulk-billing campaign is more about driving industry profits than saving you money
The Conversation » Health Economics
by Stephen Duckett, Honorary Enterprise Professor, School of Population and Global Health, and Department of General Practice and Primary Care, The University of Melbourne
2M ago
iamharin/Shutterstock For many people, the term “bulk billed” refers to a GP visit they don’t have to pay for out-of-pocket. But another form of bulk billing is in the news ahead of May’s federal budget – bulk billing of pathology testing, such as blood tests. This relates to the fees pathology companies receive from Medicare to perform out-of-hospital laboratory tests, the type your GP might order to help diagnose or monitor disease. These pathology fees have been frozen for almost a quarter of a century. Is that fair? Obviously not, argues Australian Pathology, which represents private patho ..read more
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Buyouts can bring relief from medical debt, but they’re far from a cure
The Conversation » Health Economics
by Erin Duffy, Research Scientist, University of Southern California
3M ago
Medical debt can have devastating consequences. PhotoAlto/Odilon Dimier via Getty Images One in 10 Americans carry medical debt, while 2 in 5 are underinsured and at risk of not being able to pay their medical bills. This burden crushes millions of families under mounting bills and contributes to the widening gap between rich and poor. Some relief has come with a wave of debt buyouts by county and city governments, charities and even fast-food restaurants that pay pennies on the dollar to clear enormous balances. But as a health policy and economics researcher who studies out-of-pocket medical ..read more
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Asthma meds have become shockingly unaffordable − but relief may be on the way
The Conversation » Health Economics
by Ana Santos Rutschman, Professor of Law, Villanova School of Law
3M ago
Its price will take your breath away. Brian Jackson/Getty Images The price of asthma medication has soared in the U.S. over the past decade and a half. The jump – in some cases from around a little over US$10 to almost $100 for an inhaler – has meant that patients in need of asthma-related products often struggle to buy them. Others simply can’t afford them. To make matters worse, asthma disproportionately affects lower-income patients. Black, Hispanic and Indigenous communities have the highest asthma rates. They also shoulder the heaviest burden of asthma-related deaths and hospitalizations ..read more
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Slashing salt can save lives – and it won’t hurt your hip pocket or tastebuds
The Conversation » Health Economics
by Peter Breadon, Program Director, Health and Aged Care, Grattan Institute, Lachlan Fox, Associate, Grattan Institute
8M ago
Shutterstock Each year, more than 2,500 Australians die from diseases linked to eating too much salt. We shouldn’t be putting up with so much unnecessary illness, mainly from heart disease and strokes, and so many deaths. As a new Grattan Institute report shows, there are practical steps the federal government can take to save lives, reduce health spending and help the economy. Read more: Essays on health: how food companies can sneak bias into scientific research We eat too much salt, with deadly consequences Eating too much salt is bad for your health. It raises blood pressure, which increas ..read more
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