What is Medicare Select? – Parliamentary Library Background Note – 13 August 2009

Posted on August 13, 2009. Filed under: Nat Hlth & Hosps Reform Comm | Tags: , |

Parliamentary Library Background Note
What is Medicare Select?
Online only 13 August 2009
Dr Anne-marie Boxall, Social Policy Section


How would Medicare Select differ from Medicare?
Are there schemes similar to Medicare Select operating in other countries?
Is Medicare Select a form of managed care?
Would Medicare Select mean privatising the Australian health system?
What would be the potential benefits of implementing Medicare Select in Australia?
What would be the potential risks of implementing Medicare Select?


In its final report to Government, the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission (the Commission) outlined three options for reforming the structure of the Australian health system. Two preserved the structure of the health system established with Medicare in 1984, but they proposed changes to financing arrangements and the roles of the Commonwealth and state and territory governments. The third option proposed more significant reforms that, if implemented, would result in a fundamental restructure of the Australian health system. The proposal, called Medicare Select, was foreshadowed in the Commission’s interim report (where it was labelled as Option C). It was described as a compulsory social health insurance system along the lines of those operating in many European countries.[1] In the Commission’s final report, the proposal was branded as ‘a uniquely Australian governance model for health care that builds on and expands Medicare’.[2]

Perhaps because the description of the proposal has changed, there is much confusion about what, precisely, Medicare Select is. Therefore, this paper addresses key questions about the Medicare Select proposal in order to help explain what is and how it would change the Australian health system if it were implemented. In particular this paper:

* examines the differences between Medicare and the Medicare Select proposal
* explains how Medicare Select differs from managed care and ‘privatising’ the health system
* identifies other countries with similar systems, and
* outlines the potential benefits and risks of implementing Medicare Select in Australia.”

…continues on the website

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