Welcome to the first edition of HealthDispatch


The publication, which is being launched with the support of Private Healthcare Australia, will seek to provide balance in the public debate over policy and issues impacting the private health sector.

HealthDispatch is independent and will explore, investigate and report on issues on that basis.

The editorial position is to support the creation and maintenance of a policy and operating environment conducive to the private health sector.

It has existed for decades as an important contributor to the Australian health system and there seems no need for that to change.

On the contrary, in an era of fiscal constraint by all levels of government, it has never been more important for government to ensure its sustainability as a significant contributor to health funding and the provision of health care.

Any risk to the sustainability of the private health sector is more accurately described as a risk to the wider health system.

Yet it seems public debate on the private health sector, and not least government's private health insurance rebate, more often reflects the ideological position of some individuals and stakeholder groups then any objective assessment of the issues and what is in the best interests of the health system.

Some campaign against annual premium increases then argue for a massive hike in out of pocket consumer cost through abolition of the rebate. They complain about premiums rising but supported changes to indexation of the rebate that only served to accentuate their impact. 

It seems forcing consumers to pay more is ok, some of the time. In truth, these arguments simply reveal an agenda that is less focussed on consumers than it is on attacking private health.

Where is the upside in undermining a sector that provides millions of Australians with life-changing and in many cases life-saving health care? There is virtually no capacity to provide these services in the public health system and any argument to simply reallocate spending on the rebate reflects a shocking ignorance of how any institutionalised system actually works.

Some even obsess about the corporate status of health funds without acknowledging the fact their products are explicitly price controlled by government.

They also fail to acknowledge the reality of rising input costs, something not unique to the private health sector, but a reality across a health system where rising costs are generally buried by government spending. They effectively argue rising costs are ok, some of the time, as long as they are borne by government.

The reality is the sector is an integral part of Australia's health system.

Thank you for your interest in the publication. It will initially be published twice-weekly, Tuesday and Thursday, with additional updates when required.