Health spending is not out of control: Owler

Speaking today at the National Press Club in Canberra, Professor Owler also called for national discussion on what Australians want from their health system. 

"Is it such a bad thing that Australia spends more of its wealth on healthcare? As a nation becomes prosperous, its total expenditure on healthcare should increase just as it should on education," he said, before echoing the remarks of his predecessor Dr Steve Hambleton in describing the government as "bean counters". 

Speaking as part of the AMA's Family Doctor Week, Professor Owler praised family doctors as the "cornerstone" of the health system, but expressed concerns about the new shape of health policy in Australia. 

He singled out a push to allow private insurers into general practice, the abolition of vital GP training infrastructure, and the proposed $7 co-payment, which he said "threatens the very foundations of the health system". 

"I fear a concerted

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