Making Australia’s health care system better

March 20, 2017

Associate Professor Francesco Paolucci is calling for an overhaul of Australian health care.

A Murdoch University health policy expert is calling for an overhaul of Australia’s health care system to make it more efficient, equitable and accessible.

Associate Professor Francesco Paolucci, Head of the Health Policy Programs at the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs, says the current system results in duplication of private and public services and is inequitable in terms of access to health care.

Speaking to ABC Radio National’s The Money program, Professor Paolucci said his proposal would require consumers to make a choice between public and private health insurance, removing any duplication and overlaps.

"Both the public and private universal packages would be compulsory and defined by law,” said Professor Paolucci.

“Everyone would be able to opt out of the public insurance provider – Medicare – including the less wealthy, but they would need to purchase private health cover and they can access a subsidy from the government to help them do this. The government subsidies would also be provided for those who opt for the public insurance.”

Professor Paolucci said his system was more efficient because the subsidies would be related to insurance premiums, which could be adjusted for each individual according to their age, gender and health record.

“Technically you would expect that premiums would be more competitive given the competitive nature of the system. Choice drives competition between the insurers. If we apply the right subsidies, which are risk adjusted, health insurers will invest in making the provision of care more efficient.

“Individuals that have a high cost because they are chronically ill would receive more in the way of subsidies compared to lower risk individuals. So you could imagine a system where prices differ according to risks within certain bands but individuals would be compensated for the higher risk through the subsidy scheme.”

Professor Paolucci says his system would deliver choice to consumers.

Through choice, insurers, including Medicare, would become more active in delivering what people actually need,” he said.

Professor Paolucci will be expanding on his proposal at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event later this month.

The Transformation of healthcare event on Thursday 30 March, will see him join a panel of experts to discuss how the healthcare system can be transformed into a more sustainable model. If you are interested in attending, please find more information on the event here.

Murdoch University is proud to be a sponsor of the Transformation of healthcare event.


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