New book diagnoses Australia's policy failures in health care

17 June 2014

Australia is sleepwalking down the US path; headed towards a two-tiered health care system that is increasingly inequitable, warns leading Australian health academics and authors of the highly regarded book, Health Care and Public Policy: An Australian Analysis.

Launching the fifth edition of the book, co-author Professor Stephanie Short from the University of Sydney said Australians are already paying some of the highest out-of-pocket heath care expenses in the developed world.

"New co-payments for Medicare services will slug consumers and make health care more unaffordable," Professor Short said.

"Over the past 25 years there has been a regressive reliance on private funding in health care, especially in the form of out-of-pocket payments for medications, specialist medical services and dental care. Adding new co-payments will only compound this problem.

"Our book charts and analyses the policy direction in health in Australia over the past four decades and raises serious doubts about the equity of the current funding methods in Australia."

Written in partnership with Emeritus Professor George Palmer from UNSW, the new edition offers an insight into the evolution of the Australia's health care system and the factors that influence policy changes.

The first edition of the book was published 25 years ago and is the preeminent health policy text in Australia. The updated edition provides a comprehensive overview of the policy direction of healthcare in Australia and the social, political and economic impact of reforms.

The fifth edition ofHealth Care and Public Policy: An Australian Analysis has been published by Macmillan Publishers Australia.

Stephanie Short is a Professor in the Discipline of Social and Behavioural Sciences in Health at the University of Sydney. She is Head of the Discipline of Behavioural & Social Sciences in Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences. She has written extensively on the sociological aspects of health care.

George Palmer is Emeritus Professor of Health Services Management Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales. He has written over 120 articles and books on the economics of health services provision, activity-based funding and health policy analysis.

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