What is wrong with Medicare?

Tony D Webber
Med J Aust 2012; 196 (1): . || doi: 10.5694/mja11.11431
Published online: 16 January 2012

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.

  • Camden, NSW.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.