Flexible funding and evidence-based policy are needed
By global standards, Australia’s health system has performed well. As a country, we spent 8.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) on health in 2011 — below the average for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries (9.3% of GDP).1 Conversely, we are in the top 10 OECD countries for life expectancy.1 We have a system of universal health coverage for our entire population, something that the United States has been unable to achieve despite spending 17% of GDP on health.1 Unlike the United Kingdom, our patients are free to choose their preferred doctors. In addition, Australians can access investigations and specialist referrals more easily than people in the UK.
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