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Media Releases

2016

Prevention the key to better health outcomes for Australians and Government – July 26th
The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA*) has strongly urged the Minister for
Health and Aged Care to focus on two key areas during the next Parliament – an investment
in prevention, and action to ensure Australia’s poorest families and individuals are not
harmed by implementation of Budget cost-cutting measures.

Whoever wins the election has to deal with this – the Tooth Hurts! – NOHA – June 30th
The National Oral Health Alliance (NOHA) has today urged all political parties to reverse
the decline in oral health services in Australia and its painful impact on many Australians.

Prioritising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health – June 15th
The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance calls on all political parties to make the elimination of health inequality, discrimination and disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a Federal election priority. The landmark Redfern Statement by Indigenous leaders on the 9 June 2016 succinctly appeals to all political parties to recommit to closing the gap to meet the national goal of achieving equality in life expectancy within this generation.

Mental Health Reform – Unfinished Business – May 27th

While the final policy commitments of the political parties are yet to be released, the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance encourages all political parties to revisit the challenge of mental health reform. Despite improvements initiated in 2006 by Howard and Iemma, Australia’s approach to mental health has become fractured and piecemeal with unacceptable risks for people with a mental illness and their families.

Politicians too short-sighted about preventing disease and pain – May 17th

“The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance remains deeply concerned that the direction of health care policy in Australia remains deeply focused on treating illness once established, rather than preventing ill health and creating healthy lives in the first place,” said Chair of AHCRA, Mr Tony McBride.

Are we in danger of having a two tier health system? – May 12th

Whilst the final policy commitments of the political parties are yet to be fully released, the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance is deeply concerned about the lack of commitment of the political parties to the continuation and expansion of universal coverage for health care for all Australians.

Health Alliance welcomes new chronic diseases care plan but proof will be in the pudding

The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) today welcomed the Federal Government’s proposed new approach to care for people with chronic disease.

Health Alliance welcomes Greens’ new policies on hospital funding and private health insurance rebate

The proposal to gradually restore the Commonwealth back towards being a 50% funder of hospitals (and the notion of enshrining this in legislation) would restore significant stability to the public hospital sector and support the States’ capacity to run a sustainable system. (The Federal Government in the 2014 Budget unilaterally cut about $57 billion out of hospital grants to the States over the coming years.)

10-year National Oral Health Plan

The National Oral Health Alliance (NOHA), comprising oral health professional and broader health organisations (including AHCRA) today welcomed the launch of Australia’s second 10-year National Oral Health Plan by the COAG Health Council. However it warned that the new National Oral Health Plan “is a beautiful vehicle – but it must be given wheels” Effortlessly mixing metaphors, he added “the new Plan must be given legs through funding to make it happen, otherwise it will join the myriad of other plans sitting on government shelves gathering dust”. See oralhealth.asn.au for the full release backed by ten member organisations.

Mental health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health:

2016 Priorities in Health Care Reform for 2016

The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance’s (AHCRA) Health Reform Summit is being held in Canberra on 9 February 2016. In this election year, it will focus on two high need but complex areas of the Australian health system – mental health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

2015

Structural Changes to Mental Health – The Real Work Starts Now
The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) today welcomed Minister for Health, Sussan Ley’s announcements around mental health, in response to the review conducted by the National Mental Health Commission.

AHCRA submission to the Senate Inquiry into personal choice and community impact
AHCRA has strongly endorsed Public Health Association of Australia’s excellent submission. AHCRA emphasised the community does generally expect its governments to take responsibility for protecting the health and safety of the community against harmful products and activities, and to place the interests of the public’s health ahead of those of vested interests.

You can find PHAA’s submission here

Australian Health Care Reform Alliance response to primary Health Care Advisory Group
AHCRA emphasised the need to move away from reliance on fee-for-service funding and to introduce other mechanisms which would encourage multidisciplinary care, encourage more prevention and early intervention, and most critically improve equity of access and outcomes.

Australia needs vision for a national health system not despair about the sustainability of healthcare funding
The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) strongly supports the AMA’s call for a clear national health strategy and a greater focus on preventive and primary care.

Budget shows health policy is drifting towards dangerous waters
This week’s Health Budget reflected the lack of a transparent and equitable Federal health policy framework. It offered a mishmash of mostly small initiatives whose value was undercut by a raft of cuts to existing services.

Calls for genuine change in mental health
The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) today joined the current chorus of voices to
radically restructure the mental health system.

Governments need to learn the old adage that prevention is better than cure.
The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) calls on Federal and State Governments to lift their eyes perpetually from the short-term and see the value of investment in strategies which research shows will save lives, reduce illness and help prevent Australians getting sick.

Australia needs a stronger primary health care system and policy
The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) is urging the Federal Government to develop a coherent national primary health care policy to guide decision-­‐making in this sector nationwide. In a new position paper released today, AHCRA has urged governments to recognise that a stronger primary health care sector can increase the equity, efficiency and cost-­‐effectiveness of our health care system and meet health care challenges of the future.

AHCRA Position Paper – Primary Health Care

National Alliance urges continuing support for universal health care and equity – 27th April
A major alliance of health professional, consumer and service organisations has released a new policy document putting the case for the continuation of Australia’s universal health care policy and system.


Download the full policy paper here

AHCRA welcomes new Primary Health Networks but some questions remain – 14th April
The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance* (AHCRA) welcomes the end of uncertainty about the new Primary Health Networks (PHNs), with the announcement of the successful bidders for 28 of the 31 PHNs. It also welcomes the continued focus on systems improvement and Aboriginal Health and Mental Health in their roles. However there are some areas of concern with the operation of what, at first glance, looks much like the old Medicare Locals on steroids.

Budget cuts to Health Flexible Funds threaten vital services
AHCRA is one of a coalition of eleven peak organisations from the health and community sectors that is calling on the Australian Government to scrap its plans to cut nearly $200 million in funding to key health initiatives from the end of the financial year.

NGOs welcome co-payment change but warn sting is still in tail
A grouping of key community, consumer and health groups have welcomed the scrapping of the Medicare co-payment by the Government and congratulate the new Minister Susan Ley on assisting the Government to see the value in doing so.

Media release issued by AHCRA and the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association

Summary of AHCRA’s position on government proposal to amend medicare payment for GP visits – Feb 2015
The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA), a national alliance of 35 health professional and consumer organisations is concerned about the Federal Government’s revised health policy measures that will see GPs charging their patients (including Health Care and Pension Card holders) more for their health care.

2014

Government still tunnelling away to undermine universal health care – Dec 2014
The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) is concerned that the Federal Government’s repackaged co-payment proposal will hit consumers’ pockets just as hard as the original version, and could lead to further ‘Americanisation’ of Australian health care.

AHCRA urges Government to seek savings elsewhere, not co- payment – Aug 2014
AHCRA today backed current warnings about the risks for the Government of negotiating only with the AMA on the $7 co-payment, and called for the Federal Government to seek saving elsewhere.

AHCRA Response to the Budget – May 15th
AHCRA has distributed a media release in response to the Federal Budget. AHCRA expressed its very strong concern that the new measures are moving us away from a universal health care system, and that those on least incomes are paying the highest price.

Fair and equal access is an essential quality of our health system – April 23rd
There seems to be a real danger that decisions to be made in the forthcoming Federal Budget may result in a less equitable health system. This would be a disastrous consequence for a health system that ought to provide health care in proportion to need, not according to ability to pay.

Oral health media release – March 7th
A group of eight national health organisations (including AHCRA) have today reiterated their support for continued investment in improved dental health, particularly for children and those who rely on public dental health services.

2013

AHCRA Response to Medicare Local Review – December 31st
AHCRA developed a submission in response to the Federal Government’s Review of Medicare Locals, highlighting that they are the only bodies with a mandate to facilitate the much needed reform of the fragmented and unevenly accessible primary health care system.

Health Policy – September 2nd
Complacent parties taking eye off the ball in health

Real Health Solutions – August 26th
Blinkered governments largely ignoring the real solutions to Australia’s health

Public Hospitals – August 21st
A safety net for the poor or a beacon of excellent health care for all?

Dental care – a priority issue for many Australians
AHCRA and seven other key health organisations have today called on the Coalition to match or improve upon the Labor Party’s commitment to children’s dental services under Medicare and increased funding for public dental services for adults. Whoever wins government, the money allocated to the Grow Up Smiling (GUS) program and to better services for the 30% of adults with the lowest incomes must be guaranteed.

‘Fair Go’ Health Funding Model Needed
Australia needs a new and fairer health funding system if we are to meet our growing need for health care and ensure equitable access for all, according to the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance.

Community needs strong say in hard decisions on health
“Hard decisions are looming for the increasingly expensive health care system in coming years and decisions cannot be left just to politicians and clinicians. Citizens needs a much stronger say in health care decisions, especially about how Australia is going to afford health care in the future,” says Mr Bo Li, spokesperson for the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance.

Blame Game: No one wants to stop it
“The widely publicised arguments between the Victorian State and Federal Governments earlier in the year about hospital funding are a clear reflection of the fact that the ‘Blame Game’ around health funding has not been addressed by supposed health reforms”, said Mr Bo Li, spokesperson for the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance.

Improvements to primary health care at risk if Medicare Locals Abolished
A coalition of 30 leading health groups, the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) is highly concerned that the Coalition’s announcement that they will review Medicare Locals may mean they are intending to scrap them after the next election.

Coalition must support dental Budget initiative

AHCRA echoes Consumer Health Forum’s concern about rising out of pocket costs and highlights particular impact on low income earners

AHCRA argues that consumers are the real losers in the misguided hospital funding debacle.

AHCRA and five other bodies call for Commonwealth to intervene on fluoridation to prevent progress being reversed in Queensland and other states

For further information about AHCRA, please contact:

Tony McBride
Chair and Media Spokesperson
Phone: 0407 531 468

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