A paper by the Australian Health Policy Collaboration assesses the current state of health services in Australia and proposes sustainable solutions.

The paper:

  • considers the current state of financing of health services in Australia, relevant to chronic disease and the ageing of the population
  • compares Australia’s approach to that of other like nations
  • identifies and analyses key preconditions of high performing chronic-care focused healthcare systems and applies these to the current Australian arrangements
  • proposes a policy implementation roadmap for the Australian system to move towards funding arrangements to provide a universal and sustainable health insurance and financing system that would enable better prevention and management of chronic disease for the Australian population and community.

The paper proposing the following key points.

Policy and funding arrangements need to be based on the evidence of what works to meet current challenges. We need to reorient Australia’s health policy and funding arrangements to be inclusive of, and focused on, the long-term care requirements of chronic diseases; and on the prevention and early intervention in the trajectory of chronic diseases to avert preventable ill-health and its consequences, including social and economic impacts and costs.

A national discussion about how to re-engineer current arrangements to provide systemically, effectively and efficiently for chronic health conditions, their treatment, management and prevention, is now a pressing issue – and needs to encompass health policy and planning, the organisation of the health workforce and health infrastructure, models of healthcare delivery and the provision of care, the supply of health services and its relationship to changing demand, and the financing of health services and care.

This paper proposes a serious public discussion on the financing of health services and care in Australia, focused on chronic health conditions, and drawing on the evidence emerging internationally of the health insurance and financing models that better address chronic health care needs. We invite readers to engage with us in this discussion.