When the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission’s final report was released, one recommendation was that the Federal Government explore the feasibility of transforming Medicare into a managed competition model of health insurance, called Medicare Select.
Not long afterwards, I asked a contact, whose opinion I value, for his view of the proposal.
I had a look at this when the report first came out. I have to admit it
read like gobbledygook and I don’t know that I understood it. I had two impressions: (1) if this idea was constructed around the idea of choice between competing health plans, many rural and all remote areas are typified by market failure when it comes to health. So it is beyond me what choice we might have; and (2) if I couldn’t understand it (in all
modesty), how was it to be explained & sold to the punters.
Well, since then, I’ve had a go trying to explain what Medicare Select might mean, and how the arguments of the advocates and critics stack up. There is plenty more detail in this article at the online publication, Inside Story.
Radio National’s Life Matters program also ran a segment on the story this morning, including discussion between Professor Ian Hickie (an advocate) and Professor Stephen Leeder (a critic).
One of the major take home messages, for me at least, is that there are many uncertainties about how such a model might play out in Australia.
I’m no physicist but it seems that a certain law of physics is quite relevant here: for every argument, there is an equal and opposing counter argument….