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Cost of health care not "rocket science" – Catholic Health CEO

The CEO of Catholic Health Australia, Francis Sullivan, has slammed both the government and the opposition saying the costs of health care in Australia are not "rocket science". He has called for a "realistic debate" on the future of health care policy in this country "which educates people about the real costs of quality care".

The CHA press release argues:

After published reports that the two largest private health funds are seeking premium increases this year, CHA's CEO Francis Sullivan said today "both sides of politics have waded in to a predictable standoff which does little to advance the understanding of the community or to reassure ordinary Australians that health care will remain affordable."

"The primary purpose of health insurance is to enable patients to afford the costs of care should they need it. Unfortunately some hospitals remain squeezed by some health funds and the downside of inadequate hospital funding from insurance will be the introduction of extra patient fees or the loss of some essential services."

"This isn't rocket science and both the Federal Government and Opposition know this."

"CHA's own research indicates that in some cases some hospitals will require increases in payments from health funds of up to 7 percent this coming year. This is due to escalating costs of care, increased wages for health professionals and rising medical equipment and technology expenses."

"If health insurance premiums are only increased at the rate of the CPI, this will represent a cut in hospital funding in real terms. In reality this represents a real cut in hospital benefits to patients."

"CHA encourages sensible scrutiny of health expenditure. It also believes the community would be better served by a health debate which educates people about the real costs of quality care and the community's obligation to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to access essential care."

Catholic Health Australia – Media Release: Realistic Health Debate Needed(pdf file)

15 Jan 2004