From the recent GP co-payment scheme to proposed changes to the PBS, healthcare reforms continue to encourage debate and galvanise support from government, healthcare professionals, economists, pharmacists and the community as a whole. However, the new and proposed reforms continue to highlight the challenges that the Federal Government faces when looking for savings against growing healthcare costs from an aging population and limited competition in the field, both of which mean increased consumer costs.
Opening with the economic outlook of the healthcare and pharmaceutical market, the forum will discuss healthcare trends, sustainability, pricing reforms, and potential reform savings. In the face of a worsening economic situation, the Federal Government is faced with the challenge of providing long-term financial stability in the healthcare system.
Furthermore, Medicare faces a long overdue overhaul, with Federal Government beginning their focus on the MBS, PBS and PHI rebates. Public hospitals, largely overstretched and in need of restructure, raise several questions regarding what health services should be covered by the MBS and who is liable. Medicare Locals, are facing extensive cutbacks, becoming a fewer number of Primary Healthcare Networks. Primary care is also bracing for a Medicare rebate freeze as the Government looks towards cost cutting measures.
As the health budget tightens, there is an ever growing interest in the role of private health insurance to be more involved in the public system. Following an announcement by Minister Ley regarding abolishing the co-payment, the government is focussing on other options to facilitate funding of the future directions of Australia’s health system.
Ongoing PBS reforms largely focus on enabling innovative and new drug design, and ensure affordability and access to medicines. However, this comes at a heavy cost to the health budget. The sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement, in place from July 2015 is another example of the Government making waves to change health policy.
The Government are also set to work on other major health reform issues, including dental, mental health and the e-health framework. With the long term savings potential of investing in health, the government is focused on investment of $24 billion into the Medical Research Future Fund as well as planning for investment in new digital health technologies.
With 2017 an economically challenging year, the Federal Government is getting ready to implement the next health reforms. This forum is aimed at public and private sectors and is about working together to brainstorm and find ways to create effective reform and improve the state of our health system. Speakers will include a line-up of Federal and State Government departments, hospitals, health services providers, health insurers and many other experts. We invite you to join government, healthcare professionals, economists, pharmacists and the scientific community to listen to different points of view and collectively discuss the national approach to health reform.