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Strategy for funding nation's healthcare

Comments on Arthur Sinodinos “Health strategy at risk from political tactics”, 8/04/2010, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/health-strategy-at-risk-from-political-tactics/story-e6frg6zo-1225851108116

On population issue, it seems better to have any Treasury analysis as a feed and input to better and more informed debate among the public, rather than the basis for government policy making.

Besides, it also seems better to sponsor some independent research organisations to do the analysis, as opposed to or along side Treasury's. Treasury may be perceived as somewhat politically influenced, as opposed to independently done. That will not be very good for the nation.

Secondly on health, the first thing is to create an environment in which people can have longer working life as life expectancy increases, if they so choose. That will create more wealth available that people can use for retirement and health as well. Interestingly, it could be the case that while people are engaged in work, their health status might be better than otherwise that will reduce health costs.

As to the funding of healthcare, given the likely increase costs and the need to have good care but contain the costs, it will be much better if there is explicit link between the healthcare costs and a specific healthcare or medicare levy. The more transparent the link between the two is the better for the public to make the choice between the tradeoff of costs and care and contribute to the reduction of costs.

Further, the idea of individual accounts of healthcare charge is not a bad idea, but clearly there are alternatives that could be even better.

For example, if the explicit link between healthcare levy and total healthcare costs is made, the idea of healthcare rebate can be used to encourage unnecessary spending on health and contain the costs of total healthcare, if an entitled person has not spent. The rebate level can vary according to a number of factors, such as age.

Such a system has the advantage of being simpler and fairer or more equitable.

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