Lack of audit control and inability to adapt to change leads to massive waste
As Director of Professional Services Review (a role established to protect the integrity of Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) for over 6 years, I gained an insider’s insight into how dysfunctional the Medicare/Medibank Scheme has become since the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cwlth) was introduced. The then Minister for Health, the Hon. Bill Hayden, stated in his second reading speech that the purpose of the scheme was to create the “most equitable and efficient means of providing health insurance coverage for all Australians”.1 The universality of medical insurance coverage benefited all Australians, particularly those for whom a doctor’s visit represented a significant proportion of income. From the beginning, there were inadequate safeguards in a scheme based on the honour system. In no other area of public expenditure where recipients have significant control has so little attention been paid to audit.
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