The balance of power in the Senate is likely to remain with the Centre Alliance and others, such as Derryn Hinch and Tim Storer, however, the Greens have a narrow chance of picking up a few more seats and may be crucial to the passage of key health changes through the Senate.
Their big spending health plan, which promises to ‘ensure we have a genuinely universal public health system’ will lift Commonwealth funding for hospitals from 45 to 50 per cent and matches the ALP’s $2.3 billion cancer commitment.
They have also pledged to centralise all health funding under a single agency, with $970 million to be spent over four years in order to stop cost shifting between state and federal governments.
The proposed independent Preventive Health Commission will focus on obesity and alcohol-related harm and there is also a proposal for additional funding from Medicare for team based healthcare for people with chronic diseases.
Private Healthcare Australia have been critical of the Greens policy to abolish the private health insurance rebate, which would likely see significant numbers of people drop their private cover, with CEO Rachel David saying that “No serious health policy-maker would contemplate the Greens proposal to abolish the PHI rebate as even as vague option for the future of Australia’s health system”.
However, it wasn’t all criticism, with Leanne Wells, CEO of the Consumer Health Forum, saying that “Most health analysts would agree that many of the reforms suggested by the Greens would produce better outcomes for those Australians most likely to suffer ill-health.”