Medical device sector launches 'Protect Patient Choice' campaign

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The Medical Technology Association of Australia has launched a new campaign it says is designed to protect access to medical technologies.

The association says the campaign is focused on "championing positive reforms" to private health insurance and challenging the campaign recently launched by Private Healthcare Australia.

CEO Ian Burgess said the medical technology community was joining other stakeholders who have already raised concerns over proposed changes in the pricing of prostheses.

The Prostheses List (PL) has been the focus of debate over reform for several years.

The medical device sector agreed to around $1 billion in price reductions under a 2017 agreement with the federal government. However, private health insurers have continued to push for further reforms.

The 2021-22 Budget included $22 million for a four-year reform process.

“Currently Australians’ access to life-saving therapies and medical devices is protected by the Prostheses List, a list of medical devices assessed by the government as proven technologies which deliver clinical benefits to patients,” said Mr Burgess.

“Insurers are currently required to fund these devices when they are chosen by doctors as the best treatment for their patient.

“But the future of the Prostheses List is currently under threat by insurers who want a different system – one which would allow them to refuse to fund medical devices, even when recommended by a patient’s doctor.

“That’s why we are launching the Protect Patient Choice campaign and calling on the public to fight back against the insurance industry’s misinformation campaign. It’s time consumers understood that their healthcare choices may be at risk – when insurers choose, patients lose.”