Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration on the COAG Reforms Relating to Health and Hospitals

As a business organisation, the Business Council of Australia has been struck by the lack of reform within the health sector, and the extent to which productivity-enhancing microeconomic reforms and technology developments appear to have largely bypassed the sector.

And, even though the sector is heavily regulated, it lacks the sectoral governance arrangements that apply to other sectors – and so continues to privilege providers at the expense of consumers and patients.

In this submission, BCA Chief Executive Katie Lahey writes that the proposed COAG health and hospital reforms appear to be a good first step, because:

  • resources and information will be increased
  • activity-based funding will support greater throughput and efficiency
  • new arrangements will help improve and account for patient safety
  • local hospital boards can help improve the match between local provision and need
  • pooled funds between Commonwealth and states will help improve accountability transparency about the relative funding shares and how they are used, and
  • a new, independent pricing authority will also help to reduce cost shifting.

Read the BCA’s original blueprint for health reform, Fit for the Job, here.

This submission argues that the proposed COAG reforms are a starting point only, in particular because:

  • There has been no public presentation of the nature of the health challenges we face, nor a roadmap provided for how we will meet these needs.
  • There has been a failure to link preventative health measures to the overarching challenge of the gap between future demand and provision.
  • The message to the community is that it is ‘business as usual’, only with more resources.

Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration on the COAG Reforms Relating to Health and Hospitals