Medicare struggling; Australia headed towards US user-pays system
By Joe Hildebrand and Kate Sikora
The Daily Telegraph
June 03, 2009 12:01am
* Claims Australia headed towards US system
* Out of control costs to blame
* Four-day week urged for specialists
THE Australian system of free universal healthcare is set to disappear in as little as five years, prompting a radical plan for a new federal-state partnership to take control of hospitals and patient care.
It comes amid a push by the Australian Medical Association for hospital specialists to treat patients only four days a week, potentially placing further pressure on a system already hamstrung by work restrictions among emergency physicians.
In a startling warning, NSW Health director-general Debora Piccone has told The Daily Telegraph that Australia is hurtling towards a US-style user-pays system due to an ageing population and out of control costs.
"We are really on the edge of losing the universal healthcare system that this country has," she said.
Is the Australian experiment of socialised medicine finally on its last legs? Are we really headed towards a U.S. style user pays system? Is this proof that the government, with all its shameful waste and bureaucracy, really can't and shouldn't be managing something as important as the health care of Australia's citizens?
What are your opinions about our failing health care system?