Applied Health Economics and Health Policy

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 511–514 | Cite as

Supporting Medicare Health, Equity and Efficiency in Australia: Policies Undermining Bulk Billing Need to Be Scrapped



Federal Budget Ally Health Service Health Policy Reform Downstream Cost Health System Cost 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The authors, Simon Eckermann and Lynnaire Sheridan, have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this commentary, and they received no funding for this research.


  1. 1.
    Deeble JS. Medicare: where have we been? Where are we going? Aust N Z J Public Health. 1999;23:563–70.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Australian Department of Human Services. 2016. Medicare bulk billing. Retrieved July 6, 2016 from
  3. 3.
    Australian Government Department of Health. 2016. Quarterly medicare statistics—September quarter 1984 onwards. Retrieved July 6, 2016 from
  4. 4.
    Parliament of Australia. 2016. Budget papers 2016–17. Retrieved July 6, 2016 from
  5. 5.
    Henderson A, Gribbin C. Election 2016: Turnbull says Labor’s $12b Medicare promise unfunded. ABC News, 19 May 2016 [cited 2016 July 6].’s-medicare-promise-unfunded/7428348.
  6. 6.
    Duckett S, Boxall A, Baum F, Daube M, Clarke P, Javanparast S. Federal budget 2014: health experts react. The Conversation, 13 May 2013 [cited 2016 Jun 21].
  7. 7.
    Hall J, De Abreu Lourenco R. GP co-payments: why price signals for health don’t work. The Conversation, 10 July 2014 [cited 2016 Jun 21].
  8. 8.
    Eckermann S. Avoiding a health system hernia and the associated outcomes and costs. Aust N Z J Public Health. 2014;38(4):303.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Harrison C, Bayram C, Miller G, Britt H. The cost of freezing general practice. Med J Aust. 2015;202(6):313–6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Harrison C, Bayram C, Miller G, Britt H. High cost of GP rebate freeze may see co-payments rise from the dead. The Conversation, 23 March 2015 [cited 2015 Mar 23].
  11. 11.
    Eckermann S, Sheridan L, Ivers R. Which direction should Australian health system reform be heading? Aust N Z J Public Health. 2016;40(1):7–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Helms T, Newhouse JP, Phelps CE. Copayments and demand for medical care: the California Medicaid experience. Bell J Econ. 1978;9(1):192–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Trivedi AN, Moloo H, Mor V. Increased ambulatory care co-payments and hospitalizations among the elderly. N Engl J Med. 2010;362:320–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Eckermann S. Over and under servicing: further reasons to scrap the GP co-payment. The Conversation, 7 August 2014 [cited 2015 Jun 21].
  15. 15.
    Richardson J, Peacock S. Supplier-induced demand: reconsidering the theories and new Australian evidence. Appl Health Econ Health Policy. 2006;5(2):87–98.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    van Dijk C, van den Berg B, Verhei R, Spreeuwenberg P, Groenewegen P, deBakker D. Moral hazard and supplier-induced demand: empirical evidence in general practice. Health Econ. 2013;22(3):340–52.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Health at a glance 2013: OECD indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing; 2013.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Davis K, Stremikis K, Squires D, Schoen C. Mirror, mirror on the wall: how the performance of the US health care system compares internationally: 2014 update. New York: Commonwealth Fund; 2014.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Council of Australian Governments (COAG). Heads of agreement between the Commonwealth and States and Territories on the funding of public hospitals. April 1, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2016 from
  20. 20.
    Australian Centre for Health Research. A proposal for affordable cost sharing for GP services funded by Medicare. 2013. Accessed 23 March 2015.
  21. 21.
    Parliament of Australia (2014). Budget papers 2014–15. Retrieved July 25, 2015 from
  22. 22.
    Taylor L. Coalition working on fifth incarnation of Medicare policy after co-payment killed. The Guardian, 3 March 2015 [cited 2015 Mar 23].
  23. 23.
    Al-Zaidy A. Models for paying providers: capitation. British Medical Association. 2015. Accessed 6 July 2016.
  24. 24.
    Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian social trends 4102.0. 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2016 from
  25. 25.
    Butler JGR. Policy change and private health insurance: did the cheapest policy do the trick? Aust Health Rev. 2002;25(6):33–41.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Ellis R, Savage E. Run for cover now or later? The impact of premiums, threats and deadlines on private health insurance in Australia. Int J Health Care Finan Econ. 2008;8(4):257–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Harris A. Things you should know about the private health insurance rebate. The Conversation, 1 July 2013 [cited 2015 July 2].

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Health Services Research InstituteUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

Personalised recommendations