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Rudd should be congratulated for historical health reform deal

News reports that a historical deal on health reform has been reached between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories governments except the Western Australian government.

There will be a national pool of health (public hospitals) funding with the commonwealth as the dominant funder of 60% to start with and the States have agreed to have 30% of the GST to be put into the pool as part of the Fed's 60%.

The States will be administering the pool of health funding and large and urban hospitals will be funded based on activities. Small rural hospitals will be block funded.

The Commonwealth also become the exclusive funder for primary cares and other cares.

There are a range of improvement targets to be achieved over a period of specified time.

While WA has concerns on the impact on its GST allocation and hard negotiations are still needed to get it on board, the achievement over the past two days is significant.

It is likely to drive hospital efficiency and achieve efficiency dividends to fund ever increasing health public expenses.

State governments are likely to be more efficient in managing health.

Together with other further reforms and improvement, it can be expected that the nation's health will be further integrated and more effective over time.

Even though it is by no means to be perfect, but it has been not easy to come to this point.

Prime Minster Rudd should be applauded and congratulated for his determination and leadership.

States premiers and chief ministers have also played positive roles in the process and their efforts and inputs should be highly acknowledged and commended.

It is likely to have an impact on the relativities assessed by the Commonwealth Grants Commission, through the reduction of the GST pool and the arrangements for the hospitals and other healthcares.

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