It is clear now that the Rudd health reform plan is not good enough and inferior to the Brumby plan.
However, the Brumby plan can be and should be further progressed.
There are some common grounds among the two plans. They include
- to streamline funding
- to streamline the management of the nation's health system
- to have local participation
- use benchmarking
It seems that there should be a mechanism to deal with that situation, be it a state, a local health network, or the Commonwealth.
It seems also that the Brumby plan can be used as the starting point for further progress, to include such a mechanism.
Another issue is that how to make changes to the funding level under the Brumby or the Rudd plan.
A mechanism may be for either party, a state or the Commonwealth to initiate a change based on real evidence, then followed by the other party to change its funding accordingly by a agreed proportion.
The third missing element is that any plan should also streamline and consolidate the whole health from preventative care to primary care, hospital, rehabilitation and aged care. It should also consider the role of private health providers.
Any local health network should have such a broad task and responsibilities and the funding should also be based on the whole healthcare system.
To conclude, the Brumby plan is superior to the Rudd plan and there is no point for Rudd to insist on accepting his plan and put Commonwealth funding contingent on that acceptance. The two levels of government should work cooperatively for the wellbeing of all Australians, rather than for their own personal ego.
They should further progress the Brumby plan, taking into account the above extra elements. The funding arrangement can have a phase in stage, say 3-5 years.