by Alan Thornhill
The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, isn’t answering questions yet, on reforms proposed for Australia’s health system.
But he is working to clarify the issues.
And, at this stage, even that’s a positive step.
Mr Rudd told an ABC radio interviewer in Melbourne yesterday that the reforms, proposed by the government’s own National Health and Hospitals’ Reform Commission, would have to be “integrated.”
“It needs to be an integrated set of reforms,” Mr Rudd said.
This is not just a big ticket item for nation. It’s huge.
Australia already has a national health system that is the envy of many other countries, including the United States, where legislators are currently arguing bitterly over proposals for a much more basic system of universal health cover than Australia’s.
But Australia’s system, too, still has gaps.
There are big gaps, for eample, in preventative health measures. And Australia’s present system does little to help the poor meet their dentists’ bills.
And , as the old song says, the thigh bone’s connected to the kneebone.”
Mr Rudd acknowledged that.
“What we do in preventative health care relates to what we do in primary health care,” he said.
“That is with GP sand GP related services.”
And that, in turn, affects how Australia manages its overstretched public hospital system, the Prime Minister added.
The health industry, also, contains many deeply entrenched individual interests, that do not have a good record of co-operation.
The commission’s report does guarantee, though, that health will be a major issue at the next Federal election.
Especially as Mr Rudd has also made it clear that he will not be taking any major decisions on the report’s recommendations before the.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
Friday May 24
The Dow Jones Index fell 12.44 points to 15,294.70
Ford Australia says it will close its Australian manufacturing plants in October 2016. Some 1,200 jobs to go.
Hazel Hawke dies at 83
A British soldier is hacked to death in the London suburb of Woolwich, in an apparent terrorist attack
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