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Americanising Australia’s Healthcare

The health insurance lobby is continuing to push to Americanise Australia’s healthcare system by incentivising large corporations to take out health insurance for employees, taking away people’s choice on healthcare.

The private health insurance lobby’s call comes as one of its member companies recently called for the government to fully privatise Medicare.

Private Healthcare Australia (PHA) said the Australia Government could, working alongside health funds, help halt and reverse the trend of declining young adult participation by introducing a Fringe Benefits Tax exemption application to private health insurance premiums for employees under the age of 40.

PHA’s Chief Executive, Dr Rachel David, called the propose “modest” and said it “would put the private health insurance industry within reach of young people who will benefit from healthcare services not readily available to them in the public sector”.

CHOICE’s Senior Campaigns and Policy Advisor, Dean Price, challenged PHA Americanisation proposal asserting that “people need to be at the centre of the debate about their health.”

“Many people find health insurance expensive and to hold little value. Out-of-pocket costs are rising, and health insurers are paying out less per hospital visit,” Mr Price said.

The Doctors Reform Society (DRF) President, Dr Tim Woodruff also slammed the proposal question why private health insurers wanted these changes.

“To get more taxpayer support for themselves to make more profits. The majority of Australians don’t have private health insurance because it’s a bad product,” Dr Woodruff said.

Federal Shadow Health Minister, Chris Bowen, said the suggestion was another unrealistic proposal for more subsidy at a cost to the taxpayer.

“The private health insurance sector seeking further government subsidy as reform for the industry is increasingly untenable,” Mr Bowen said.

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