Health Ministers Rudd and Roxon are engaged in a health announcement blitzkrieg.
You can track all the latest announcements – including those on aged care, elective surgery waiting times, and emergency departments, here at the PM’s Media Centre. Perhaps it is just a glitch that the primary health care organisations announcement doesn’t feature there. Let’s hope it’s not symbolic.
Meanwhile, one prominent health economist Professor Jeff Richardson has not been at all impressed by the Rudd Government’s hospital reform plans and has released “Three Essays in Disagreement with the Rudd Health System Intervention” which you can download here.
Richardson, Foundation Director of the Centre for Health Economics at Monash University, says he is publishing the essays “because he believes both theory and history suggest that Rudd is committing a serious error which will be potentially very damaging”. And he hopes to encourage more health economists to contribute to public debate and understanding about health reform.
The first essay, titled “A poisoned chalice in the long run”, was published in the Medical Journal of Australia recently, as previously mentioned at Croakey.
The second essay is titled “Rudd’s destructive intervention” and begins: “The Rudd ‘plan’ for the health sector has similarities to the Howard intervention into Aboriginal affairs in the Northern Territory. Both appear motivated by a public expectation of action, any action. Neither was preceded by a detailed, public strategy or cogent argument for the form of the intervention…”
The third essay asks “Is there a better alternative to a Commonwealth monopoly in the health sector?”.
All in all, these essays amount to a critique that State Premiers, Health Ministers and bureaucrats are likely to read with great interest.
But what do other health economists think?