Health a top priority for voters: how do the parties rate?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Health issues including the Medicare rebates freeze, public hospital funding and co-payments have hit the spotlight in the lead-up to the 2016 Federal Election, but other vital issues such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and quality care have been underplayed, according to a review undertaken by Australian Healthcare and Hospital Association (AHHA).

AHHA members representing a broad range of stakeholders across the health sector analysed the publicly announced policies of the Coalition, Labor and the Greens to develop the AHHA’s Australian Election 2016 Health Policy Scorecard.

“The scorecard provides a run-down on how each of the national parties shapes up on health policy. We urge all parties seeking election to consider this feedback from health leaders and stakeholders regarding their policies, and commit to maintaining a healthy Australia, supported by the best possible health system.” AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.

The scorecard rated party policies against several criteria:

  • Commitment to universal healthcare principles
  • Commitment to long-term sustainable funding
  • Policies to support integration
  • Commitment to preventive care
  • Commitment to quality outcomes
  • Policies to support innovation
  • Commitment to working collaboratively with the states and territories

Reviewers found the Coalition has made some amends for the damaging cuts in the 2014-15 Budget, but some policies continue to exacerbate issues of access, equity and sustainability. Labor’s support for universal care and preventive health is welcome. Its policies work toward a more sustainable health system, but further development of reform proposals will be important. The Greens are strong supporters of universal care and have announced positive policy proposals, but gaps remain.

  “Voters will entrust the 45th Commonwealth Parliament with our nation’s health, at a time when there are growing challenges in terms of equity and sustainability. Strong and strategic leadership is needed from our political leaders to ensure our world-class health system is able to provide care for all Australians, regardless of where they live or how much money they have.”

Read more: AHHA’s Election 2016 Health Policy Scorecard
MJA InSight: Scorecard on health policies

Media enquiries:
Alison Verhoeven
Chief Executive, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
0403 282 501