A country’s health care system refers to all the institutions, programs, personnel, procedures, and the resources that are used to meet the health needs of its population. Health care systems vary from one country to another, depending on government policies and the health needs of the population. Besides, health care programs are flexible in the sense that they are tailored to meet health needs as they arise. Among the stakeholders in the formulation of a country’s health care system are governments, religious groups, non-governmental organizations, charity organizations, trade/labor unions, and interested individuals (Duckett, 2008). These entities formulate, implement, evaluate, and reform health services according to the needs of the sections of the population they target.
In the contrary, governments have the responsibility of ensuring all the citizens access quality health care, more so in public health facilities (Duckett, 2008). Despite the various forms taken by health care systems in the world, they seem to have common goals. These goals include the good health of their populations, equity and equality in health care funding among others. To achieve these goals, the functions to be executed include the generation of more resources, delivery of health services, and good leadership/management. This paper explores the Australian health care system, particularly its challenges, strengths, weaknesses, and the proposed reforms.
The Australian Health Care System
The Australian health care system comprises both the public and the private health sub-sectors. The health care system concerns itself with the financing, formulation, implementation, evaluation, and reforming of health services. The main sources of finance for the Australian health care system, also known as Medicare, are the income tax levy and the general revenue. For instance, high income-earners in Australia are taxed a 1% levy to fund the health care system. For proper funding and accountability in the use of the health care funds, Australia has established a national health policy, which emphasizes the provision and accessibility universal health services to the public. In fact, the federal government plays the all-important role of covering most of the public medical expenses in hospitals, albeit by way of subsidies in some cases. This coverage could be in form of subsidies on services or drugs, as realized in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schemes (Hill et al., 2005). The level of expenditures the federal government covers in the health care system varies from in-hospital costs, general practitioner, to specialist services.
The other mechanism that determines the level of government cost coverage is whether a patient is a concession or is receiving other benefits. Moreover, there are situations when a patient has exceeded the threshold for federal subsidies. The threshold is often calculated on the allowable annual health expenditures. In situations where...