Tributes flow for the man who made Medicare

One way or another, his creation has had a profound effect on healthcare

Tributes have poured in following the death of Professor John Deeble, dubbed "the father of Medicare”.

The health economist, who left school at 15, co-authored the original proposals for universal health insurance in 1968, which led to the creation of Medibank under the Whitlam government in the 1970s.

On pitching the scheme to then-prime minister Gough Whitlam, he once said: “I believe Gough got a bit bored with the detail. Then, at the end [of the meeting], he said, 'So what should we do?' ”

What they eventually did was fiercely oppose large swathes of the medical profession at the time, including the AMA, which claimed the proposal was “a cleverly devised plan for the ultimate nationalisation of all medical and hospital services” and the “first major step to achieve socialisation of the Australian community”.

The reform was later dismantled but Professor Deeble became involved