AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said healthcare, for good reason, had been one of the major concerns of the public during the election campaign, but despite this neither major party had committed to a public hospital funding model which would help alleviate the enormous stress on the hospital system.
what is clearly missing is the overall vision for Australia’s health – the necessary big picture reform, backed by significant funding to tackle preventative health, public hospitals and the private health system
“The AMA’s logjam campaign has called on Government and Opposition to commit to a new hospital funding agreement with State Governments, aimed at addressing the crisis of ambulance ramping, overloaded emergency departments and delayed essential surgery,” he said.
“But the lack of commitment to the necessary AU$20.5 billion investment is disappointing as the incoming Prime Minister, whoever it may be, will be forced to negotiate a new agreement with States regardless.
“State and Territory Premiers have called for a better deal, in line with the AMA’s Clear the hospital logjam campaign, and the next Prime Minister will not be able to avoid a 50/50 funding agreement.
“The Greens did commit to a 50/50 agreement – an important point to note considering the increased role the other parties and independents are likely to play in the next parliament,” he said.
Dr Khorshid said the report card did highlight some significant health investments – including the ALP’s promise of almost a billion-dollar investment into general practice to realise the 10 Year Primary Health Care Plan, and to provide additional GP infrastructure.
“This funding promise, if implemented, is good news for general practice and all Australians, and something we fought for as part of our Modernise Medicare campaign. It is a strong down payment which will help realise the recently completed 10 Year Primary Health Care Plan – a plan which remains unfunded by the Coalition,” Dr Khorshid said.
Dr Khorshid said the AMA report card outlined other notable health investments, including the AMA’s longstanding call for a Centre for Disease Control being committed to by the ALP and the Greens, and $146 million by the Coalition, then matched by ALP, for rural health.
Dr Khorshid also said that while the Greens had outlined several significant funding commitments, they would be funded by abolishing the private health rebate, a short-sighted proposal that would destroy the successful public/private model of health delivery in Australia.
“It is disappointing that, after two years of a pandemic, that health was not made a more central feature of the two major parties’ platforms.
“While the report card highlights the investments committed across a range of areas, what is clearly missing is the overall vision for Australia’s health – the necessary big picture reform, backed by significant funding to tackle preventative health, public hospitals and the private health system,” Dr Khorshid said.
The AMA election report card is available here. The report card assesses health policy announcements of the Liberal National Coalition, the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens against the Five Pillars of the AMA’s Vision for Australia’s Health.