Briefing paper

Consumers Health Forum of Australia analysis of the 2013-14 federal budget

Public health Federal government Consumers Medicine Australia

This paper argues that the 2013-14 federal budget does not provide relief for consumers struggling with out-of-pocket health costs.

The 2013-14 Federal Budget has been delivered in an environment of increasing health challenges and a tighter fiscal environment with government revenue stalling. Some will benefit from the measures outlined in the budget – patients with cancer and those needing new medicines are among the beneficiaries – but the bud get does not provide relief for consumers struggling with out - of - pocket costs. This reflects a provider led health care system that rewards throughput rather than health outcomes.

In the lead up to the delivery of this budget, it was acknowledged that the current health system is under strain and struggling to respond to the challenges of increased demand. As highlighted by Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF)’s 2013-14 Federal Budget Submission, rising expenses for both government and individuals have underlined the need for new approaches to pay for healthcare that will result in more effective, targeted treatment, and reduced out-of-pocket costs.

With an ageing population, growing demand for health services, and slowing government revenue, retaining a funding system based on patient throughput and fee for service is no longer sustainable. This paper argues that the budget a lost opportunity to position the health system for the future and address its underlying structural weaknesses.

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