Labor has pledged to set up an ‘independent’ national body [to] ‘safeguard’ Australia’s universally accessible healthcare system. Catherine King said the new body would function in a similar way to the Productivity Commission and oversee state and federal reform efforts while holding all levels of government to account.
Comment: Only one problem – Labor has a record of ignoring the Productivity Commission.
[She continues:] The commission … would advise federal and state health ministers and report publicly on the progress of all levels of government on long-term reform projects.
Comment: So first she says it will ‘hold all levels of government to account’ and in the next breath, that it will ‘advise federal and state health ministers’. Which is it, ‘hold to account‘ or ‘advise‘?
[She continues:] Commissioners would be appointed for a period of at least five years, … ‘It will transcend our three-year federal election cycle, while also finding ways to forge consensus across the Commonwealth-State divide’.
Comment: So first it was going to ‘hold to account‘, then it was going to ‘advise‘ – and now it is going to ‘find consensus‘.
In other words, in the first 3 year term, King will appoint all of the Commissioners and in the next 3-year term, the LNP won’t be able to ‘unpick’ them.
Ms King said Australia’s healthcare system faced challenges including “growing barriers to care” such as “high costs, long wait times and workforce shortages”, along with “persistent inequalities” of access to care in disadvantaged communities.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
But among its first ports of call would be reforming community health care to cater to the ageing population and rising chronic disease burden, and improve access to public hospital specialists.
Source: Newcastle Star
“These challenges have been understood for years and in some cases decades”.
Comment: During the Gillard reign, Labor promised to rollout HUNDREDS of Community health clinics. After 3 years only a handful had been implemented.
- King doesn’t trust Labor to implement her health policy, so she wants to outsource it to a new body called the HRC which will police the states.
- King wants her ideology to override voter’s choice by “transcending the electoral cycle”. A future LNP government will have it’s hands tied by ‘Health Reform Commissioners’ in the same way as the FWC and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal which regularly overrules the elected minister. Of course, Labor itself will reserve the right to ignore the Commission
- King’s new HRC is a way to sidestep the PC (which she claims it will be similar to), which produced a report in 2015 with different imperatives to the ones which King cites: “The key conclusion was that more could be done to promote clinical and cost-effective care by improving health technology, clinical guidelines and peer review, removing incentives in the system to over-treat, and greater investment in preventive health”.
See “Labor ignores real reasons for rising health costs” – The Australian
- [Gillard’s] “‘Super’ clinics can’t find doctors” – The Australian
Cases of Labor ignoring the Productivity Commission:
- In 2015, Labor argued against penalty rate changes recommended by the Productivity Commission to the Fair Work Commission. Three of the PC Commissioners had been appointed by Labor and the FWC was set up and Commissioners appointed by Bill Shorten. ACTU boss, Oliver claimed that the “notion of a 7-day economy was a myth” when the context was hotels and restaurants. Source: SMH
- In 2016, “Labor ignores Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) advice on how to lower electricity prices”.”The commission found one of the most effective and immediate ways to cut power prices would be to end the solar bonus scheme earlier … [but] Labor couldn’t agree with the commission’s recommendation because it was Labor introduced it to begin with”. Ref: Couriermail
- In 2015, “The Productivity Commission came up with a paper titled Efficiency in Health in 2015 and observed there was considerable scope to improve Australia’s health system. It pointed out that reforms to efficiency would relieve some of the pressures associated with Australia’s ageing population and growing healthcare expenditure. The key conclusion was that more could be done to promote clinical and cost-effective care by improving health technology, clinical guidelines and peer review, removing incentives in the system to over-treat, and greater investment in preventive health. Ref: The Australian
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