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Profit-driven health is no future for Medicare

The Abbott Government has made the controversial decision to give profit-driven private insurers the right to tender to run its new 'Primary Health Networks' (PHNs), set to oversee GP care Australia-wide.

This means insurance companies, and not your GP, could end up making critical decisions about who gets treatment and how we're treated, with health groups already raising the alarm. It's the very system that's crippled American healthcare, driving up costs and leading to less care for fewer people.

Profit-driven healthcare threatens the very foundation of our universal Medicare system, restricting access and quality of care, especially in areas where insurers don't stand to make money. The Government is accepting expressions of interest right now to operate the PHNs, so we need to act quickly.

Will you call on the Government to keep private insurance companies from taking over GP-care by adding your name to the petition?
The transition to Primary Health Networks is one of the most significant challenges currently facing our health system, and represents a dangerous experiment in involving private health insurance and market forces in health. Here are the key concerns:
  • Conflict of Interest. Private health insurers are focused on their own members. It's hard to see how they'll promote equity of access for uninsured patients since their raison d'être is to provide extra care for their customers above what can be provided via Medicare and public hospitals.
  • Individual equity. It may lead to a two-tiered system where those with the financial means receive preferential treatment, and those who will wait for timely quality care. This directly contradicts the notion of universal access to quality healthcare which underpins Australia's world-class health system.
  • Community equity. Markets in small regional towns and remote areas, and areas with high levels of poverty, aren't profitable for health insurance companies. So, it may exacerbate the split of general practice between those who cherry-pick the quick and straightforward (and therefore more profitable) patients and those who are left to deal with more complex patients, usually small business GPs and the Aboriginal Health sector.


Dear Minister for Health Peter Dutton and Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash:

Don't let private insurers tell our GPs who they can treat and how they can treat them. We want world-class Australian Medicare, not profit-driven US-style healthcare.

50,099 signatures

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