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Catholic Health argues all must have access to health cover

Catholic Health Australia has reiterated its stance that Australia's health system must be founded on a universal insurance entitlement to essential care for everyone.

Speaking after a meeting of senior executives from Catholic hospital and health services, CHA CEO Francis Sullivan said: "That the principles of equity and access which underpin the structure of Medicare must be safeguarded and made as effective as possible for all Australians."

Last week Prime Minister John Howard appeared to have withdrawn his commitment to access to Medicare as a universal entitlement. The bulk billing system on which it is founded is widely perceived to be in decay.

"Medicare is a universal insurance scheme which affords all Australians access to hospital and medical care," he said. "It is a mark of our regard for each other's health that we are prepared to invest in the effectiveness of universal insurance.

"Not only has Medicare been an effective brake on cost escalation in the health system, it has also become an essential component of household budgets.

"To date it is the best way we have found to balance the demand for health services with the costs of delivering care. It still has a high degree of fairness as well as being a reasonable mechanism to allocate scarce health resources."

Catholic Health Australia

Catholic Health Australia | Canberra Update

12 Mar 2003