Officials to front Senate committee

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Another round of Senate Estimates this week with the Department of Health fronting the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee tomorrow.

Labor senator Murray Watt emerged during Estimates in June last year as a new bête noire of Department of Health officials with precise questioning on the day followed-up by a number of questions on notice.

He seemed to take the role previously occupied by Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale.

Non-government senators could be expected to probe officials on a range of issues relating to the private health sector, including the 1 April premium rise recently announced by health minister Greg Hunt, and even the progress of reforms announced last year.

They may also discuss Labor's proposed two-year two per cent cap on annual premium increases. The government and private health sectors have strongly criticised the proposal.

Following a restructure of the Department last year the area responsible for private health insurance and related areas is covered by Outcome 4.

The Outcome, officially called Individual Benefits, also includes other contentious areas including Medicare and the PBS.