Health is one the most essential and controversial issues in Australia politics and in this case it leads to the conflict between the Commonwealth and the State government. The Primary Health Care Reform in Australia, Report to Support Australia's First National Primary Health Care Strategy 2009 report says the Australian health care system is multi-tiered and is comprised of organizations that are funded and organized by a range of different methods including Government (publicly funded) and Private Sector (privately funded). And the Commonwealth government is the major funders and therefore the National Health Reform Agreement (Council of Australian Governments, 2011) ...view middle of the document...
The divided funding and responsibilities of the Commonwealth and the State government is criticized as 'inefficient' since it ultimately leads to the cost-shifting of one to another government. This issue will be further undermined by this $5 co-payment plan. Overall, the out-of-pocket cost further heightens the on-going conflicts between the Commonwealth and State governments and therefore it is not an efficient solution for stabilizing the health expenditure.
There is a repeated pattern in Australia health care system (Gruszin et al., 2012).
The Medibank was first introduced by the Labor government to provide universal health care coverage with the removal of financial barriers to access (Whitlam, 1969, p. 784), however, it was defeated by various stakeholders and the liberal party and hence removed after the election of Fraser Liberal government. This, however, led to the rapid reduction in government expenditure and exerted further pressure on individuals. Thus, a similar scheme called Medicare was re-introduced with a similar objective. In comparison to this event, the current co-payment scheme will also lead to the reduction of health expenditure and exerts more financial pressure on individuals. Additionally, Sammut (2014) states a similar plan was released by Howard government before, however, faced a political crisis due to the frozen rebates of GP and a significant decline in bulk-billing, as GPs filled up their lost income via charging their patients. It was introduced as a solution for the falling private insurance rates and short-term budget crisis. This could be repeated, since the current and previous situation is similar. Economic Impact Assessment of the Proposed Reforms to Private Health Insurance report (Deloitte, 2011) revealed the failing level of private insurance in Australia. These overlapping historical events suggest how the proposed co-payment could be detrimental to the society.
Socioeconomic factors, Geography and Demography
A $5 co-payment not only predicts the optimistic outcomes, however, it also provokes equity issues. Equity is widely regarded as an important policy objective in health care sector (McLachlan & Maynard, 1982).This arises in relation to the socioeconomic status, aboriginality, geography, demography and epidemiological factors. In relation to the socio-economic status, the extra $5 upfront hinders the utilization of GP for low incomers since the Health at a Glance 2013: OECD report (OECD, 2013) revealed the correlation between the poor health status and low socioeconomic status. However, Australia's geography and demography create further challenges. Geographically, Australia has a large country land; however, according to WHO western pacific region, most of the population is concentrated along the eastern and south-eastern coastlines while extremely less portion of population is concentrated in rural area (2014, para. 3). Brown and Warner, (1991, p....