Don’t confuse aggressive media campaigns with the truth about wasted billions
Every time governments try to cut back the on their ballooning health budget, the groups who profit from this wealthy and influential sector kick back like a mule. In 2015 medical and lobby groups screamed about a GP surcharge of $20. In 2016, pathology companies are screaming about cuts to pathology rebates of $10.
However, this debate is not about a few million dollars being wasted.
The health industry is the largest employer in Australia and many other western nations. It consumes around 10% of GDP in most Western countries and up to 18% of GDP in America. 1 in 6 dollars in the US economy flows through the health industry. The price markup on some health services is 5,000%. Health is the largest growing part of any western countries budget. This industry is arguably the wealthiest, the most secretive and the most overpriced industry in the world. There are no incentives to reduce costs and increase standards.
Medical, pathology, pharmacy and the other big players in this industry launch aggressive media campaigns to pull the public’s heart strings every time their billion dollar tax funded profits are threatened. But consider this.
Health prices are all kept hidden from the public. There is no marketplace where patients can shop around, and find the lowest prices and highest standards. In contrast to ‘free market’ ideology, private specialists, private hospitals are the most secretive about both their prices and their standards.
Over-servicing is epidemic across the entire sector. The fee for service model of funding encourages more tests, hospital admissions and treatments, whether they are needed or not. A recent Four Corners program showed that unnecessary tests and procedures are draining the taxpayers of 50 billion every year in Australia.
While mainstream medical and hospital services cry over minor cutbacks, health startups are being locked out of lucrative government and private insurance contracts. Newer services that offer safer, technology drive, home-based services are being kept out of the health market. Both patients and the taxpayer suffers.
And over priced, mainstream health services profit.
That’s the truth behind aggressive media campaigns and wasted billions.