Greater transparency in setting charges may be the most efficient way to rein in excessive fees
Articles in this issue of the MJA1,2 and elsewhere3-5 have reported significant variation in the fees charged by specialist physicians and surgeons. These variations raise questions about excessive health care costs, as well as about barriers to access for patients.2,4,5
- 1. Freed GL, Allen AR. Variation in outpatient consultant physician fees in Australia by specialty and state and territory. Med J Aust 2017; 206: 176-180.
- 2. Hillis DJ, Watters DAK, Malisano L, et al. Variation in the costs of surgery: seeking value. Med J Aust 2017; 206: 153-154.
- 3. Johar M, Mu C, Van Gool K, Wong CY. Bleeding hearts, profiteers, or both: specialist physician fees in an unregulated market. Health Econ 2016; doi: 10.1002/hec.3317.
- 4. Callander EJ, Corscadden L, Levesque JF. Out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure and chronic disease: do Australians forgo care because of the cost? Aust J Prim Health 2016; doi: 10.1071/PY16005.
- 5. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 4839.0. Patient experiences in Australia: summary of findings, 2014–15. Nov 2015. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4839.02014-15?OpenDocument (accessed Dec 2016).
- 6. Schoen C, Osborn R, Squires D, Doty MM. Access, affordability, and insurance complexity are often worse in the United States compared to ten other countries. Health Aff (Millwood) 2013; 32: 2205-2215.
- 7. Duckett S, Breardon P, Farmer J. Out of pocket costs: hitting the most vulnerable hardest. Melbourne: Grattan Institute, 2014. http://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Grattan_Institute_submission_-_inquiry_on_out-of-pocket_costs_-_FINAL.pdf (accessed Dec 2016).
- 8. Joyce CM. The medical workforce in 2025: what’s in the numbers? Med J Aust 2013; 199 (5 Suppl): S6-S9. <MJA full text>
- 9. McRae I, Butler JR. Supply and demand in physician markets: a panel data analysis of GP services in Australia. Int J Health Care Finance Econ 2014; 14: 269-287.
- 10. Van Gool K, Savage EJ, Viney RC, et al. Who’s getting caught? An analysis of the Australian Medicare Safety Net. Aust Econ Rev 2009; 42: 143-154.
- 11. Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Code of conduct. 2016. https://www.surgeons.org/media/24335322/2016-04-29_mnl_racs_code_of_conduct.pdf (accessed Dec 2016).
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