Lesson for our leaders: Australians value universal healthcare

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has called for cooperation on health after this weekend’s tight election results.

"Whatever the final composition of Australia's next government, there has been a clear message from voters that primary health, hospitals and Medicare matter," AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.

"Health is a national priority for the Australian people and it must be a priority for our elected representatives. It is not sensible for political leaders to dismiss reasonable concerns from voters about the adequacy of public hospital funding and the ever-increasing out of pocket costs for healthcare.

"Defensive claims about a Medicare scare campaign are not helpful. The Coalition must recognise that three years of disjointed health reviews and reforms, alienation of key stakeholder groups, and significant cuts to funding felt right across the sector and particularly by patients, have given voters cause to doubt whether it can deliver the health system they want.

"Strong Commonwealth leadership is required to ensure equitable, accessible and affordable healthcare for all Australians, regardless of how much money they have or where they live.

“Issues such as greater cooperation between the Commonwealth and the states and territories on hospital funding, preventive care, a strong primary care sector, better integration of primary and acute care, and better use of health data, are central to the provision of the high quality healthcare Australians need,” Ms Verhoeven said.

“What can be learned from the past three years is that the Commonwealth must work with service providers, professionals and the community as it seeks budget savings to ensure that access to universal quality healthcare is not eroded.

“Uncertainty around sustainable, long-term funding for the health system must end. Whichever party forms government must work with all stakeholders to ensure certainty for public hospital funding beyond 2020, and to strengthen the primary care sector, both in terms of payment models and through innovative models of care.”

"The AHHA looks forward to working with whichever party forms government to help shape policies which support universal healthcare."

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