How do the major parties’ health policies stack up?

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The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) has released a scorecard on how the major parties’ health policies stack up in this federal election campaign, and how they rate against the CHF’s vision for community health.

Healthcare and Medicare were voted in the top three election issues that matter most to retirees in the Friday Flash Poll: Which election issue matters most to you?

When it comes to which party has best addressed healthcare and Medicare, the Greens have made the most ground, says the CHF, with Labor coming in second and the Coalition third.

While the CHF says the parties have promised a lot in terms of short-term fixes for the health system, chief executive Leanne Wells says they could do better.

“The parties have promised lots for health, but what is lacking is a coherent vision to foster long-term strategies, including preventive health, integrated care and support for patient-focused care and consumer leadership in health,” said Ms Wells.

“The scorecard rated the major parties’ responses to 37 detailed measures across eight policy areas recommended by CHF in Priorities for the 2019 Federal Election: Making Health Better  launched on 23 April. The Greens scored the most positives, 21, followed by Labor with 16 and the Coalition with seven.

“It has been encouraging to see significant promises from Labor in areas like primary and integrated care reform and expanded dental benefits for pensioners – and for this to be a down-payment on their vision for universal access to dental care for all Australians under Medicare. The Coalition scored best on early childhood, youth and family measures, but not at all on the issues to do with the social determinants of health.

“The Greens scored well across all eight categories and particularly on prevention, including its support to increase spending on prevention to five per cent of health funding.

Labor received moderate praise for its dental care package – which should appease more than 90 per cent of older voters surveyed in our Friday Flash Poll: How important is denticare to you?

“It is clear the time has come to ensure oral and dental health is treated like any other form of health,” said the report.

“The Coalition offered nothing new for dental health other than a continuation of the Child Dental Benefits Scheme, and in their response to us see it sitting firmly in the private arena with private health insurance as the funding mechanism.

“The ALP’s Pensioner Dental Plan has taken welcome first steps with a targeted program for older people, but this falls well short of what is needed although we note it was described as ‘the next step towards Labor’s vision of universal access to dental care in Australia’. This, combined with the ALP’s pledge to negotiate with the states to maintain their existing spending on public dental health services, will substantially increase access.”

The CHF says a new model for healthcare is required.

“Australia needs to break out of the dysfunctional status quo that results from federal-state divided health funding responsibilities. To a large extent the big parties are still captive to hospital-dominated plans that chew up most of the health budget,” said Ms Wells.

“Health is more than hospitals and a stronger focus on community-based, integrated care would in many cases yield happier patients, better outcomes and at lower cost.

“We support Labor’s plans for a health reform commission, which hopefully would work towards a more consumer-focused and integrated health system and advocate that it should have consumer commissioners as part of its establishment should Labor form government.

Read the full health scorecard with commentary.

Which party do you think has best addressed issues with the health system?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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55 Comments

Total Comments: 55
  1. 0
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    Health Insurance for us will be a thing of the past when Labor takes away our franking credits, We will then become pensioners so hopefully centerlink will look after us.

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      Ming that could be a good thing as so many on here regard pensioners as the lucky ones.
      As full pensioners without additional funds or incomes we do budget for private health cover. We have top hospital and only dental extras which works out as $70 per week.
      We like the feeling of knowing we can choose our hospital and not worry about wait times.
      As we never eat out not even a coffee out we feel it is manageable. Also, we do not drink or smoke. Priorities, I guess!

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      If you are a pensioner then nothing will change as pensioners are exempt. If you are not a pensioner then your assets must be fairly healthy if a drop in franking credits will place your income test into the pensioner entitlement. I doubt this will be the case as it sounds that your assets levels will test above the limit in any case.

      You should see a financial planner and alter your investments anyway. Like all investments, they are subject to change and need constant attention. Quite frankly, anyone of pension age who has large share holdings needs to reconsider as their shares may well be wiped out in the looming global economic crisis.

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      Ming It will be a thing of the past for most people if Labor win the election. It is in their documentation that they will stop the rebate on premiums. This means that the premiums are in line for at least a 30% increase and that is before any annual increase is applied. Where many people are all ready struggling to afford private health insurance, this will be enough to tip them off completely. And not just pensioners, or SFR, but families and young people too. Inevitably this will mean further stresses on public health services and hospitals.

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      KSS, made up again?
      Why the need to scare people into voting for the LNP? They are not for pensioners or young people or battlers?

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      I’m neither scaring people into anything nor advocating one way or another Paddington. You however, seems to be doing both for the ALP.

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      Labor said they would cap the increases at 2% !!!

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      Which does not negate the intention to remove the premium rebate now does it Paddington?

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      Ming, not getting Franking credits which by the way, no other country refunds to those who don’t pay tax won’t make you a pensioner. For that, you have to spend down sufficient Assets to be under the threshhold. That might make you a part pensioner, and many of those can afford Health Insurance. Alternatively, I note advisers are suggesting a move to an Industry fund

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      I’m not rich. I get no premium rebate. I am retired, and self funded, and now once again the rules get changed.

      And where can you invest money and get a valid return on your investment. Just to retain the present value of your money.

      Three options when self funded retiree:

      Bank Deposit – return of around 2% and then taxed if you are a self funded retiree.

      Shares: – Dividends above the company threshold level (30%) taxed.

      Property: Capital gains and putting up with a renter.

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      Franking credits are a rort. Get over ripping tax payers of.

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      Ozrog, I have said it on another thread and I’m repeating it here.

      Franking credits are dividends ON WHICH TAX HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID. Removal of them is double taxation.

      This attack upon the retirement incomes of self funded retirees will achieve nothing useful. Businesses will declare dividends as an expense and not pay tax on them. The recipients will be paying tax at a lower rate than the issuer of the dividends, so the likely outcome will be that the revenue of the Commonwealth decreases.

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      Ozrog, I have said it on another thread and I’m repeating it here.

      Franking credits are dividends ON WHICH TAX HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID. Removal of them is double taxation.

      This attack upon the retirement incomes of self funded retirees will achieve nothing useful. Businesses will declare dividends as an expense and not pay tax on them. The recipients will be paying tax at a lower rate than the issuer of the dividends, so the likely outcome will be that the revenue of the Commonwealth decreases.

  2. 0
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    The biggest issue for this election is Franking credits and negative gearing – not health.
    Pensioners may need a better deal but to take from those who have worked so hard not to rely on the Government’s penny is just robbing Peter to pay Paul.
    It will be so damaging to our economy.

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      Then before the effects of the man-made drought in the Murray Darling Basin pushes food commodities to un-affordable levels we need to address the water issues ASAP.
      We need to address Supermarket control of the agricultural sector as well.

      You cannot help the havenots if haves don’t have anything either.

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      Rubbish! This does not affect everyone like health does or the environment!

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      I agree with you Rosret. I do not have any shares so franking credits don’t affect me, but I do know people who do. And I am totally against Labor’s proposal. I too have worked hard to try and support myself in retirement, and I am sick and tired of being punished because of this. I see my total bludger sister on the opposite side who has never worked, lives in a govt house, has been on the DSP for a self inflicted smoking related problem, got full free set of dentures (my partial cost me $6,500) and knows every trick in the book to get her free hand outs.
      I scrimped and saved, did without holidays, new cars, going out, even getting married – all to scrimp and save to put aside for retirement – stupid me. There is no incentive for seniors – just constant punishment, and governments constantly changing the rules to eat into our money. I salary sacrificed as much as I could – that was MY money that I could have been spending on other things. Now that I can actually enjoy the hard yakka of my hard work, I face constant stress of constant changes.

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      Maybe for you it is Rosret as it sounds like you have plenty of assets if your issues are franking credits and negative gearing. In your case health reforms are probably not an issue as you can afford private health care. For the 90% os other age pensioners, health care in the public system is a critical policy issue.

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      ‘Pensioners’, that as usual excludes self funded retirees. More money for breast cancer when breast cancer has more funding funding than what ALL other cancers combined.

      What i am sick of is that this election as with all others focuses on initiatives for women at the exclusion of men. Name me one male focussed initiative.

      I agree the Murray / Darling requires more focus .

      The real aim by Labour in particular, is to buy the votes of women. Not run the Country.

      A self funded white male forget it.

      And i do not want it. I want the Country run properly ie Murray/Darling, exampled by the young woman riding a trail bike along the bed of the Darling. People selling off water locations? Water THEY do not own.

      Also I pay for my medicals via Private Health.

    • 0
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      Ladies, gentlemen and others- It’s not the Labour Party, it is the Australian LABOR Party (ALP).

    • 0
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      No Maelcolium – Liberal/ Labor will look after health and education as usual. How we are going to be taxed and how our adult children are going to be taxed is going to change the working generation’s future superannuation cache.
      The assumption that people who have saved to afford a retirement means it can be taken to be given to those who haven’t I find offensive. I have gone without holidays and all sorts of things because I know I have to make my super last.

      There are people in desperate need of a pension increase but it shouldn’t be at the expense of those who have saved for their retirement.

  3. 0
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    Clearly from the research Labor is miles ahead of the Coalition on all things Health. They might also take better care of the health of the Darling river which has been damaged by Coalition inaction.

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      Yes, and where is Melissa Price, the Environment Minister?

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      Actually they are neither DaveR. The Murray Basin situation has not been correctly administered and their hasn’t been enough scientists on the ground to ensure its management. The Greens influence has damaged the controlled water flow and the under hand deals has mismanaged the usage. I’ll leave the later analysis for a much needed Royal commission.

      As for health – more has been done in the last 6 years than there has been for years. Anybody who has to visit hospitals on a yearly basis really gets to see the massive changes that have happened in my State of NSW.

  4. 0
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    The topic is health yet comments are off topic mostly. I would not trust LNP to protect Medicare for a start. Sneaky changes have occurred under them. They are also the ones who have each year reduced the contribution from the government towards private health cover. The Greens favour wiping private cover and pushing all that money in public health which many on here have said they want. Labor is between the two not going as far as the Greens but far more compassionate than LNP and trustworthy in protecting Medicare.
    I am not going to other topics as some have done as health is a huge need for everyone.

    • 0
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      Why do we need to change everything. EVERYTHING this election is being changed. Outcome is that you cannot plan any form of life because policy, promises, and programs are regularly changed

      The Community or Society is divided against each other with particular groups getting favour. No1 is women.

      The subject matter of Health is similar to childcare. Any Government funding will be snavelled up by increased fees. As Done in Childcare a few years back. The voter will not save money. The fees will increase around equal to the Government funding.

      I am happy to pay for immediate medical treatment. Not go into a Government based Socialist health service so that you wait 6 months for treatment.

  5. 0
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    Any party can make all sorts of promises and once they get in backpedal as soon as possible. Personally I think we need to take more responsibility for our health rather than relying on doctors and medicine to fix it up. Just having private health care does not automatically mean you’ll enjoy better health. Dental health has been shown to be also critical for our health yet doesn’t get much focus, Labour have been smart in identifying one area that needs addressing. However, it doesn’t mean if labour get in they will fix it up. Much like the cancer issue, but no offer of increasing transport so people can get treatment everyday! Community transport is a huge issue which is a part of the health issue because unless you can get to an appointment, there’s no point lowering the cost to access the service! Always half measures and promises!

  6. 0
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    The taxpayer puts far more money into women’s health than men’s health. Why don’t we balance that anomaly. Why?

    These changes are unnecessary but are just part of the need to say something over a far too long champaign period.

    The pie is the same size. What we are doing is re-allocating the slices of the pie and focussing on different groups. The most outstanding group for funding is the dominating 52%.

    • 0
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      Ah lol where’s the champagne after next Saturday most likely?

    • 0
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      Well Paddo the excitement gave me a spelling mistake.

      And I won’t be cracking any because only the preference groups eg women will be celebrating. Self funded retired white male is worse off because they are not considered part of our Society.

  7. 0
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    The point is both major parties need to be ACCOUNTABLE for their policy statements. They need to face the arm of the law for fabrications. Fabrications with no intent on implementation or achieving.

    This is the worst election for election promises without intent of undertaking.

  8. Profile Photo
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    All political parties make grab promises about providing health care in some form. I vote for policies not promises and hope for the best.

  9. Profile Photo
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    All political parties make grab promises about providing health care in some form. I vote for policies not promises and hope for the best.

  10. 0
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    The health insurance bargain is close to reaching a tipping point.

    Most of us on this forum would have grown up with the notion to take out health insurance if you could afford it in full knowledge that most would not be heavy users and it was an effective subsidy to seniors. This bargain has substantially deteriorated over the years as fewer younger healthy people take out insurance and so force insurance rates up.

    Now that I am in the latter group, it’s a paradox that health insurance premiums are becoming unaffordable at the very time I need them because younger people are not taking out insurance.

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      Its deliberate Farside. They want us out because we cost them too much.

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      Rosret, the health insurance game is played by heavy users being subsidised by light users. It is not to provide discounted health care as this makes no sense for any org to to build its business on deliberate loss making customers. In the past the bargain was there would be many more healthy young people taking out insurance enabling the premiums to be kept down to more risky older people. This is why they raise premiums that make it less affordable for older people, not enough younger people to reduce the overall risk.

    • 0
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      True Farside – mind you my decades of contributions and minimal claims should have counted for something! I can see how there is an issue though. Some treatments and surgeries are massively expensive to the tune of $0.25m. No regular health insurance provider can cover that sort of cost without charging huge fees.

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