Health was a long way from the headlines in 2016’s budget. One reason was that the vast majority of what was included had been announced well before budget night. Another is the upcoming election – healthcare controversy can be politically painful. In many respects, the budget could be seen as a holding pattern for the next government to take up the next reform priorities.
Based upon statements in this year’s budget, our analysis examines areas where there is a clear path forward, progress made with more to do, and considers some questions for the future. In turn, we explore the key issues and opportunities around hospital funding, Health Care Home, private health insurance and how we can better direct and lessen waste of healthcare funding.
Finally, we look at the concept and application of sin taxes. Whatever the choices taken by the next Australian government, identifying and using policy levers that discourage people from behaviour that can harm health, and conversely make choices that help their health, can and should be a top priority for policy development.
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