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  1. 1

    Jimmy

    We’re talking simple wealth distribution here and it’s pointless to consider the above proposal without looking at the overall increased taxes on Australians in the recent climate.

    Like CPRS, the proposed dental scheme, and the flood levy, the proposed private health insurance subsidy means testing is a simple wealth distribution question. At the moment no health insurance for those earning > $77 000 single / $154 000 couple results in a 1% medicare surcharge. Therefore the government compels such indivudals to take it out. Remove the subsidy and you’re simply increasing the governments tax take.

    Should those with above average incomes recieve a subsidy for private health insurance and improve their typically good access to health care? Should the less well off be deprived of power due to CPRS? Should access to dental care be significantly improved and a ‘small’ increase to the medicare levy introduced. As isolated questions the answer would be no by most Australians. However as part of the broader picture, it is deceptive to consider these as isolated.

    If we had honest and transparent government they would simply increase the tax rates as required and better manage their budget as a whole rather than these disparate measures.

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  2. 2

    Delia

    I believe the private health industry should face a full public enquiry. Private specialists are routinely ordering pathology tests, hospital admissions and medical treatments that are irrelevant to patients conditions. These tests, such as full body CT/nuclear med scans for early breast cancer (pre any surgery to check the lymph nodes), hospital admissions for ‘chest pain that has fully resolved with no abnormal pathology test results’, and medical treatments such as chemotherapy for grade 1 cancer. These tests and treatments would never be requested for public patients. They simply do not represent any value for money or offer any improvement in patients health status. But they do represent an intrenched system of kickbacks and financial incentives for over servicing.

    Medicare pays the bills for pathology tests, consultant fees and medical treatments, regardless of patients disease status, or relevance of treatments ordered. Private health insurance companies pay the hospital admission fees regardless of reason for admissions. Both are heavily, or fully subsidised by the taxpayer, with no legal authority to monitor that money is being well spent. No system of cross-referencing payments to clinical outcomes exists. No comparison between public patients pathology tests and treatments, and private pathology tests and treatments exists.

    There is also no comparison between public and private standards of patient care. Complex medical treatments are being increasingly pushed into the private health system. Currently the majority of cancer treatments are delivered privately in Victoria. Yet there has been no pubic enquiry or discussion of the ramifications of this shift. Upfront quotes prior to any medical consultations, pathology tests or hospital admissions are fairly if ever given to patients.

    The Department of Human Services claims it has no legal control over the private health system, unlike public hospitals. The booming private health sector is ‘self monitored’, despite spending billions of tax payers money and running the most complex medical treatments. Privately, DHS staff have told me of ‘bullying’ by the AMA, business lobby groups and the Liberal party to prevent any investigations into private patients care and costs, causing them to “back off”. Privately, cancer group I have spoken to, complained about excess costs and lack of standards of care in private cancer treatments.

    I run a website http://www.cancerquestions.com.au following dreadful treatment in the private health system, that involved unnecessary tests and treatments, clinical standards of care that are way below those offered in all public hospitals and $10,000 in out-of-pocket-costs. This clinic I attended is registered under the name of a major Catholic health care network but is in fact a private company run by the doctors who work there. No one in the hospital or clinic in charge of cancer treatments, there are no policies and procedures set out on what care to deliver and how to monitor it, there are no qualified nursing or allied health staff, there is no industry standard safety practices (such as monitoring lifetime dosages of chemotherapy, or ensuring young people are given IVF prior to cancer treatments that will cause infertility).

    If anyone is interested in this issue, contact me via my website. I hold a yearly event called ‘Bollywood for Breast Cancer in October, to raise public awareness and lobby politicians to force accountability for this industry. Like the TV series ‘Underbelly’ private health is linked to dishonest company practices, kickbacks, dangerous treatment of vulnerable people, friends in high places, corruption and coverups. The taxpayers, and sick patients, pay the price. Delia

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