WHY THE CO-PAYMENT CAN'T BE LESS
Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
Joe Hockey’s attempt to minimise flak from a proposed co-payment by limiting it to seven dollars will prove pointless. Around 35% of a budget for each new Government “initiative” is usurped by administration costs and that 35% component rises exponentially with a falling return.
New Zealand’s co-payment is set at $17.50 while Hockey’s $7 proposal will benefit the Government by a mere $5, with $2 going directly to GPs. That smells of static administration cost rising to near $45% of the net benefit to Government.
To push admin costs down to around a reasonable 25% of net benefit the co-payment would need to be at least $15. Independent Senators who are demanding it be lowered from $7 are playing with their genitals.
The patient contribution to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is set to rise from $37.70 to $42.70. That amount is sufficient for the bureaucrats’ costs to be a reasonable percentage of the take.
It costs the same to administer a $5 tax as it does to administer a $105 tax.
Let’s face it, this mealy $7 co-payment is about asking hypochondriacs to fix their own ingrown toenails and preventing greedy GPs having a friendly “free chat” with 50 nursing home patients before they wander off to the first tee.
And this $5, to be set aside for a multi-billion “Future Medical Research Fund”, is a nonsense with estimates predicated on current figures without taking into account any diminution of visits to GPs.
It's difficult to bring down health costs when a Medical Research Fund is determined to extend life expectancy.
The outrageous cost of medicines is due to chemical companies pricing their patented discoveries at whatever figure they wish, while being fully aware that respective governments will fill the price gap between “reasonable” and “outrageous”.
Medical research agencies, funded by governments, will find it hard to compete with voracious private chemical companies that have made an art form of patented “wonder drug” rip offs.
And if government wants to compete in that field it had better arrange a separate Future Litigation Fund for when it discovers wonder drugs like Thalidomide.