Doctors warn against US-style system as changes to health insurance signaled
The health minister, Sussan Ley, said she would soon seek public feedback on private health insurance so the government could frame policies to “deliver the best value for consumers first and foremost”.
Ley signalled that the health department-led review could have a broad focus, although she sought to avoid buying into specific options, including whether the government was still aiming to eventually wind back Labor’s decision to save the budget billions of dollars by means testing the private health insurance rebate.
Insisting she did not have a predetermined view of what the review should recommend, Ley indicated the process would explore “opportunities to amend unnecessary and inefficient regulation which adds costs for the consumer”.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with the value for money - or lack thereof – they are currently receiving from their private health insurance products, as are taxpayers, with an annual $6bn investment,” she told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.
“Everything is going to be on the table in terms of how people might want the system to look or how they may want it not to look, what changes they may support and what changes they may not like.”
Changes to regulatory burdens could “free up private health providers to offer consumers the best-value services available”, Ley said.