MTAA: Time for private health insurers to join the team against COVID-19

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Medical Technology Association of Australia CEO Ian Burgess responds to calls for further reform of the funding and pricing of medical devices. 

Private Healthcare Australia (PHA), the lobby group representing Australia’s most profitable private health insurers, has produced a nine-page smear document attacking the Australian healthcare sector, and in particular medical technology innovators.

This is nothing but profiteering and playing politics at a time of national crisis.

This dodgy document, produced and distributed by the private health insurers’ lobby, is a blatant attempt to distract from their profiteering during the pandemic, by attacking the hard-working healthcare workers who are on the frontlines trying to save lives.

In the middle of the COVID  spike in Victoria, and at a time when everyone, federal and state governments, public and private hospitals, government and industry, manufacturers and distributors,  doctors, nurses and allied health professionals are all working together to help save lives, private health profiteers are more interested in smear tactics trying to make an extra buck at the expense of the community.

The Impacts of COVID-19 have been felt across the entire healthcare sector and will continue for years to come.  But despite these impacts, MedTech innovators have pulled together in an unprecedented effort to support the Morrison Government’s pandemic response.

Through an historic collaboration with the Government, MedTech successfully secured supply of essential medical equipment, not only through the global supply chain but through a number of innovative local partnerships, that were able to ramp up Australian manufacturing in a remarkably short period of time.

While MedTech innovators have been instrumental in securing essential supplies of ventilators, test kits and PPE for the Government, private health profiteers have raked in windfall profits on the back of the pandemic, while simultaneously cutting back on claims for hospitals and extras since the suspension of non-urgent elective surgeries in late March.

With the private health insurers’ annual profit reporting period due to begin shortly there’s no question that the release of this dodgy document was an attempt to start a distraction campaign aimed at drawing attention away from the private health insurance companies profiteering during the COVID-19.

These political tactics and smears are an insult to the healthcare workers who are focused on getting Australia through this once in a generation health crisis. It’s time now for private health insurers to stop putting profits ahead of people and join the team against COVID-19.