All posts by news.admin

March and Public Forum

Save Medicare Sydney:

  • Campaigned and marched in Sydney to Save Medicare and celebrate their win against the GP co payment version B.
  • Held a forum in the afternoon, Keep Medicare Universal, Public and Fair.

The Forum speakers were:

Jean Parker – Save Medicare Sydney
Dr Ben Spies-Butcher – Senior Lecturer in Economy and Society at Macquarie University
Annette Aldrick – NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association

March flyer text

Media Release – Our great win

We’ve had a great win against the GP co-payment today, with Minister Sussan Ley declaring the government has scrapped it’s latest “Plan B” co-payment plan. But not only is the Medicare rebate freeze still in place, it’s clear the government is cooking up a PLAN C attack on Medicare!

Click to read or download our media release People power wins victory in battle against co-payment, but war for Medicare far from over

Can We Sustain Health Spending?

A lengthy article by the Medical Journal of Australia casts very serious doubts on government claims, extracts follow:

… the unsustainability thesis is remarkably weak.

…The anomalous concern with the costs and not the benefits of an expanding health sector implies comparative lack of concern or confidence in the benefits despite evidence that better health is one of the diminishingly few ways in which we can improve the quality of life of the population.

….the country with the oldest population – Japan – spends little more than the OECD average on health. This illustrates a common error: the belief that …ageing necessarily drives health expenditures. Historically, this has not been true, as health expenditures have been driven by technology and the increasingly generous provision of health services as GDP rises.

……public health expenditures by all governments in Australia are the tenth lowest of the 33 countries in the OECD database and the lowest among wealthy countries in the group.

….Bulk-billing … The principle effect of its elimination will be a redistribution of income from this group (low income) to the healthier, wealthier members of the community.

…Copayments will, additionally, divert patients from lower-cost general practitioner care to higher-cost outpatient care. Those who defer needed treatment are likely to eventually need more expensive specialist care

Perversely, in the longer run, eliminating bulk-billing is likely to increase GP fees and expenditures by reducing competitive pressures.

…the low level of GP incomes — the lowest relative to average wages listed by the OECD after Estonia and Hungary. However, a more equitable remedy would be to increase, not decrease, the rebate.

external link MJA Can we sustain health spending


Explanation of ISDS, who refused/accepted ISDS and problems it creates

Governments around the world enter into Free Trade Agreements to reduce tariffs and and expand global trade.

But trade agreements can and often do suit the interests of global corporations at the expense of people’s rights and the environment.  When present, Investor State Dispute Settlement  (ISDS) conditions increase rights for foreign investors and reduce rights for governments to regulate in the public interest.

Prime Minister John Howard refused to accept ISDS in the free trade agreement with the US and as a result Australia has avoided major issues that the US continues to suffer when dealing with other signatories, internal link,  US Dolphin safe tuna labeling ruled a violation of the rights of Mexican fishers. Country of Origin labeling for beef and pork ruled a barrier to trade, US ordered to pay $1 billion per year.

“ISDS is a flawed system that allows a single foreign investor to sue a government over regulations which can be in the public interest and even if its unsuccessful, governments pay a very high price.

Its not really a legal system that has the safeguards that national systems have because there is no independent judiciary, lacks transparency and doesn’t properly consider public interest issues.”  Dr Patricia Ranald, convenor of AFTINET speaking at an NGO conference in Singapore.  External link with video: Dr Ranald Explains ISDS in Australia

Governments after PM John Howard continued to refuse ISDS conditions in trade agreements until PM Tony Abbott reversed the policy and quickly signed a succession of agreements containing ISDS.  PM Malcolm Turnbull continues with Tony Abbott’s policy unchanged.