Not a bad trifecta. Dearer drugs, public hospitals less available and of lower quality, and GPs more expensive for large numbers of Australians. The curious thing is that Howard's obsession with destroying Medicare has such potentially disastrous financial implications for Australia. The Medicare system and the PBS, properly implemented, keep down costs of doctors, drugs and health services generally.
That is why, in 1996, Australia spent only 8.4 per cent of its gross domestic product on health. Now it spends 9.3 per cent, a truly significant increase -- and that before the baby boomer bulge hits old age. These latest changes are going to drive us even more towards the US system, where 14 per cent of GDP is spent on health.
Ideology trumps the facts on the ground yet again.