Australia's Healthcare System

Topics: Health care, Health economics, Medicine Pages: 18 (6085 words) Published: June 3, 2012
Australia’s Healthcare System: Past, Present and Future

Table of Contents

Current Health Policy Issues10-15
Healthcare Workforce15-16
Healthcare Access16-18
Chronic diseases in Australia18-20
Innovative healthcare solutions20-22



The healthcare system in Australia is a mixed system of public and private funding. Australia’s healthcare challenges mimic both high and low and middle income countries. The urban, developed areas are home to the non-indigenous people of Australia and they face health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The remote and rural areas of the country are inhabited mainly by the indigenous populations who face a mixed healthcare challenge including higher infant mortality, and lower life expectancies. Access to care, cost of care, budding healthcare technologies and chronic disease all pose unique challenges to the Australian healthcare system.

Australia’s Healthcare System: Past, Present and Future

According the Australian Government and Hilles and Healy, 2001, Australia is the smallest continent, yet the 6th largest country. It is comprised of 6 states and 2 federal territories. The largest cities are Sydney and Melbourne, yet the capital is Canberra. Canberra is located in one of the two federal territories, the Australian Capital Territory, similar to Washington D.C. The geography of Australia includes tropical areas, rugged coastline, dessert and temperate area as well. The majority of the population is located on the east coast between Adelaide and Cairns. There is another moderated pocket of populous near Perth and the middle of the country is very rural and with very little population. Australia was settled by the British in the 1700’s and today the main race of people in Australia is Caucasian, making up over 70% of the population. The rest of the population consists of Asians/Islander, African, Indian, and the native Aboriginal, Torres Strait and other indigenous peoples who have specific health needs. The majority of the population lives in developed areas with health concerns of high income countries; however those living in rural, underserved areas and the members of native Aboriginal, Torres Strait and other indigenous people have health issues which mimic those of low and middle income countries (LMIC). The primary language is English with native slang and native Aboriginal, Torres Strait and other indigenous tribal dialects as well. The government of Australia is public democracy. Public funding is collected via taxation, depending on a variety of factors including net income, marriage status and number of the children the personal income tax rate can range from 20-30% on average. (Australia’s Taxes, 2011). Australia’s Healthcare funding model

Australia has a mixed payment system of both public and privately funded health care services. All citizens are eligible for benefits under the public system, Medicare, which covers basic healthcare needs – immunization, chronic disease management, and hospitalization. Like most high income countries, health policy and coverage are often on the main stage of political debate and continually changing with leadership. There is also a supplemental private insurance industry which allows additional service coverage and in the event of socialized medicine waiting times, those with supplemental private insurance may be able to receive procedures and treatment earlier and avoid waiting. Historical Health Perspective

Prior to the 1950’s healthcare in Australia consisted of pay for service and the beginning of private insurance companies. Insurance companies were allowed to rate the risk factors a customer presented with and charge different rates based on age, pre-existing conditions and require health examinations...
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