Primary healthcare spending rises 50%

A report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows expenditure increased in real terms from $30.8 billion to $50.6 billion for primary healthcare over the decade from 2001–02 to 2011–12.

Federal government spending per person on primary healthcare rose from $669 in 2001–02 to $1005 in 2011–12 after adjusting for inflation.

But Professor Jane Hall, a health economist at the University of Technology, Sydney, said this did not back an argument to introduce a $6 co-payment to cover these rising costs.

“This report does not justify a knee-jerk reaction and draconian measures to rein in expenditure,” she said.

“The question is not should we all pay more, or the rich pay relatively more, but what’s the most efficient way to raise that money? And that’s taxation.

“I don’t think a co-payment would have the effect that’s predicted. Nowhere has higher