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News & Trends - Medical Technology

MTAA supports AMA calls for independent private health regulator to improve health insurance value proposition

Health Industry Hub | September 15, 2021 |
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MedTech News: The Australian Medical Association (AMA) President, Dr Omar Khorshid, will be calling a national summit to push for the next stage of the private healthcare sector reform.

Dr Khorshid told the 2021 Day Hospitals Online Conference that although the Government had started reforms, more is needed to make private health affordable by attracting more younger people, who are leaving, while older people are joining in droves, placing the critical balance between younger and older members at a tipping point.

“The next stage of reform is going to need to involve all other key stakeholders – day hospitals, private hospitals, private health insurers, medical device manufacturers, doctors and, of course, patients. Now is not the time for timid reform – we need significant change to the system.

“The Government has started some of this reform with the announced changes to the Prostheses List, however, we need to go much further than this. The AMA has led calls for reform to private health and we will continue to do so. When possible, and hopefully sooner rather than later, I intend to call a summit of all major players in the industry to lead this change. We will all need to work together on improvement, embrace innovation and change. The AMA and Australia’s doctors stand ready to talk constructively, ready to lead this change,” Dr Khorshid said.

The AMA is calling for a Private Health System regulator to protect patients while creating a solid platform for the medical profession, hospitals and insurers to work together more effectively to make private health insurance more affordable and improve its value proposition for consumers.

“We need to undertake the necessary once-in-a-generation reform and to do this we need an independent regulator that can oversight change,” he said.

MTAA CEO, Ian Burgess, said “The MTAA shares the AMA’s concern about the sustainability of the current system given the ageing of our population and the drift away from private healthcare by young people. We agree urgent action is required to ensure future generations can benefit from Australia’s balanced approach to health care.

“MTAA has a long-standing position of support for the establishment of an independent, well-resourced, statutory body to regulate the legal conduct of the private health insurance industry. An independent regulator would ensure better protections for patients and support for the value proposition of private health insurance, a vital part of our healthcare system.

“We [also] support the AMA’s call for a Summit and stress the importance of involving consumers and community representatives so the needed reforms can be guided by their needs and priorities. The MTAA also supports the active involvement of manufacturers, experts and other medical technology stakeholders in this process,” Mr Burgess added.

Dr Khorshid said that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia’s medical professionals had adopted and implemented telehealth and ePrescribing almost overnight and that better use of technology and innovation would need to be adopted to drive changes to the private health sector.

“Having cleared the first hurdles of telehealth and home-based hospital care, we need to develop them further as part of a deliberate design of a better system.

“We need a system that provides the right programs which are cost effective, clinically advantageous, medical practitioner led and insurer funded, delivering programs in the right setting that works for the patient and the medical practitioner,” Dr Khorshid said.


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