Hospitals in Australia

The Conversation is running a series on Hospitals in Australia.

In the latest article No-one should get dud hospital care – it’s time to lift our game on quality and safety the Association's President Jonathan Karnon  Professor of Health Economics, University of Adelaide looks at how the collection and analysis of data on the performance of our health-care system can be used to improve the quality of health services and maybe also reduce costs.

In their article "Here’s how to boost hospital funds and end the blame game"  HSRAANZ members Jane Hall, University of Technology Sydney and Kees Van Gool, University of Technology Sydney argue "Health-care costs are rising, driven by expensive developments in treatments, more demanding populations and rising national wealth. We need to change the financing system to meet this challenge."  Whilst financing health care through income taxes is generally considered equitable, one of the consequences of an ageing population is a greater proportion of the population not participating in the workforce and therefore contributing less to the tax base.  Australian baby boomers may become income-poor but are generally asset rich.  For this older age group, a wealth tax rather than an income tax more accurately reflects a contribution according to means.  Hall and Van Gool suggest this could take the form of a new national health funding scheme applied to the value of household assets.  The scheme would work on an individual basis and pay for the health care that the patient requires.  It could include an option for a resource-contingent loan, so a patients accumulated debts with the national health funding scheme for their health-care consumption would be repaid out of their estate. Under the proposal, funds would be channelled into a national funding pool earmarked for health care.

Other articles in the Conversation series: