End the 30% Private Health Insurance Rebate, Save $6bn and fund Medicare instead.
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I'd like to end the $6bn subsidy provided to Private Health Insurers each year.
Over the years, Private Health Insurers are now longer innovating nor provide competitive products that all Australian over the age of 30 are encouraged to by under the threat of a 2% levy if you buy later. They are big on selling junk policies, or coverage that isn't all it seems. In some cases, despite having high coverage, there are still large gaps when you go to use the policies from the surgeon, hospital and anaesthetist despite all those years of diligently paying premiums.
Worse, the private health insurers increase premium by 2 or 3 times CPI every year. These increases add $400-$500 per year, which has the effect of cause people to reduce their coverage, cancel it completely and depend on Medicare, or cut other spending to ensure their coverage remains consistent. Then they claim they need to increase it more because their is less people paying it.
In addition, the Federal Government has been progressively rolling back the 30% rebate each year, so the end user pays more. This started a few years ago, and the 30% rebate is now only worth a smidgen under 26%, and falling.
We now have a scenario where record profits are being generated by insurers, and $6bn of taxpayers money being funnelled straight into these profits. They are also now dictating terms to doctors, hospitals on how they are going to be covered, and many patients are now finding themselves without the coverage they thought when they signed up. They have too much power, and us as consumers and taxpayers are no longer getting the bargain.
In a few weeks, the Minister for Health will announce the latest approved premium increases. Hence we need to end the rot, and the cycle will start again.
By withdrawing the $6bn 30% Private Health Care Rebate and putting it in to fund Medicare properly, it will inject $6bn directly into our health system, which could make a lot of gap payments suddenly disappears. Each time I visit my GP, I pay a gap of $20. There are others that I'm sure pay more to visit their GP who don't ready access to bulk billing clinics. We could actually keep people out of the system with proactive medical care, instead reactive care. We already public hospitals actively encouraging people to use their private health insurance to help prop up their decline budgets and services, only to have Private Health Insurers to come and slam state government administrations for doing this.
My big one is that it would suddenly change the market for Private Health Insurers would need compete for our money by offering competitive products, as it becomes a optional market instead a mandatory market. I believe Private Health Insurance has a place, but not on the end of the Corporate Welfare queue, collecting $6bn per year, and increasing!
Stories like this occur:
Thinking you have coverage, when you don't, or being required to pay thousands in gaps because the insurance only covers so much! New joints, such as knees and hips shouldn't have to wait years under our public system, but are even priced out with exorbitant gaps for those lucky few that are covered.
I'm not the first to even suggest this:
We are asked to tighten our belts, and have services reduced, but we continue to have increases way above above CPI, and most people wages to contend with. Corporate Welfare has to end! Lets fund our public system properly, and get for-profit private health insurers off our corporate welfare system. Let's get our $6bn back, and put it towards our health, not private health insurers!
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