Ian Hickie From: The Australian May 17, 2010 12:00AM
AUSTRALIA does not win gold medals for health care. In fact, the World Health Report ranks us at number 32, way below Britain and other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.
We do poorly because of high out-of-pocket costs, a lack of equity and poor access, particularly in primary care, mental health and oral health. Now it is clear the focus of the Rudd government's $7.3 billion new investments is refunding of our acute hospital networks, it is unlikely that we will be winning any gold medals in health in the near future.
In distinct contrast to the past 10 years of genuine reform in Britain and other European countries, very few substantial changes in the way we do business have been achieved. We now have five layers of bureaucracy (national, state, local hospitals, private health and "Medicare local").
There are no mechanisms for greater competition between public or private insurers or public or private health professionals. Read the full story here.