High on the agenda of most Australian households is the need for affordable healthcare – and an expectation that our public hospitals will be well funded so that we can access care when we need it.
The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) welcomes the Australian Labor Party's announcement this week that, if elected, it will commit an additional $2.8 billion of funding for public hospitals.
This would restore public hospital funding to the formula agreed in the 2011 National Health Reform Agreement, with an overall envelope of $32.8 billion in funding through to 2025.
Both the OECD and The Commonwealth Fund note that Australians spend more on out-of-pocket healthcare costs than the OECD average and significantly more than comparable countries such as Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with out-of-pocket costs accounting for 20% of healthcare expenditure.
"Having a well-funded public hospital system is key to keeping out-of-pocket costs down, as is a well-funded primary health care sector," says AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven.
"A healthy economy and a productive workforce depends on a strong health system, where every Australian can afford healthcare."
"Funding public hospitals to better meet need is an important commitment to our national infrastructure. We also welcome the pledged investment for additional licences for MRIs, which will assist in making these more accessible, particularly in regional areas.
"Attention must also be given to ensuring strong commitment to prevention and primary care – critical policy bases for a healthy Australia."
The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, and community and primary healthcare services.