This report traces the evolution of Australian health policy and its consequences across half a century. The public hospital ‘crisis,’ a political nightmare for all Australian governments, is a legacy of the health policy upheavals of the 1970s and early 1980s, which culminated with the start of Medicare in 1984. Long waits for hospital treatment in Australia are caused by the structural funding inefficiencies at the heart of Medicare, which is a ‘reverse insurance’ system that provides ‘inverse care’ for Australians.
Dr Jeremy Sammut is a Research Fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS). Jeremy joined the CIS in 2007 and has contributed six papers to the Centre’s Papers in Health and Ageing Series, including The Coming Crisis of Medicare and The False Promise of GP Super Clinics. Jeremy has a PhD from Monash University in Australian social and political history and has had opinion articles covering a broad range of health topics published in newspapers throughout Australia including The Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Canberra Times.