Federal Government to take over Australia's public health system

This is the British disaster all over again. Leftists never learn. Tony Blair DOUBLED the amount BritGov spent on the NHS but it is still chaotic with widespread denial of services and waiting list blowouts. Most of the extra money went on more bureaucracy -- as it will undoubtedly do here

THE federal government will introduce legislation to parliament this week that aims to reform the nation's health system, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says. For the first time, the commonwealth will take majority funding responsibility - 60 per cent - for public hospitals and full responsibility for primary care.

The share of commonwealth funding had dropped to as low as 38 per cent during the Howard government years, Ms Gillard said. "Australia's health system has suffered from inadequate funding arrangements and unclear accountability for too long," she told reporters in Canberra.

The new funding arrangements would ensure that federal governments properly funded Australia's public hospitals, Ms Gillard said. The commonwealth would fund hospitals for each service they provided, rather than through block grants. Doing so would meet increases in demand and help take pressure off hospital waiting lists.

New national standards for public hospital services are to be introduced, ensuring all patients receive timely and high quality services. "The legislation reflects the historic agreement to reform Australia's health and hospital system signed by the commonwealth and seven states and territories," Ms Gillard said.

The West Australia Liberal government has yet to sign up to the deal. Ms Gillard said she spoke with WA Premier Colin Barnett last week. "We are prepared to continue the conversation in good faith," she said.

Under the agreement, the commonwealth will relieve the states and territories of $15.6 billion in growth of health costs from 2014/15 to 2019/20, allowing them to invest in other essential services.

In return, the states and territories have agreed to hand over up to a third of their GST revenue. "The efficient pricing arrangements will mean that Australia gets value for money from our health dollars to deliver services as effectively and efficiently as possible," Ms Gillard said.

The prime minister called on the opposition to support the legislation through parliament.

Obstruction would only exacerbate funding squabbles between different levels of government, leading to longer waiting times in emergency departments and further elective surgery delays, Ms Gillard said.

Ms Gillard said she would be talking with crossbenchers on Monday about support for the legislation. But she was also quick to turn the pressure back on Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. "First and foremost we need an answer from Mr Abbott about whether or not he will support these reforms."

Health Minister Nicola Roxon, standing alongside the prime minister, said the plan was to deliver a long-term "cure" to hospitals across the country. "The doctors and the nurses and the other clinicians in each local hospital will have more say about the problems that need to be fixed, the investments that need to be made."


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