While broadly supportive of the discussion paper's key elements, Catholic Health Australia paid particular attention in this submission to three main areas: Overall health care funding; payment models and structure of providers; and access, including workforce supply, workforce distribution, workforce occupation roles and the ability of patients to afford access to care regardless of economic means.
Catholic Health Australia, in its submission on the Productivity Commission's Review of Regulatory Burdens on Business, focussed on how regulations on health and aged care services can be burdensome. Among the areas CHA felt could be considered were building certification procedures, fire safety declarations, police checks, compulsory reporting and the streamlining of community aged care.
Catholic Health Australia made a submission to the Senate Economics Committee's Inquiry into the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Bill 2009, explaining that it supports action on climate change and inviting government incentives to expand environmental sustainability programs in hospitals and aged care services.
Catholic Health Australia responded to the Productivity Commission's discussion draft of its research study into public and private hospitals. While commending the Commission's report, it found that there was some cost areas that required further scrutiny, including prostheses, medical costs and allied health.
Pointing out that the current health reform process started in 2007, Catholic Health Australia noted that public hospital performance has not improved. CHA argued that the Federal Government becoming the single funder of all public hospitals was the best way to control and improve the public hospital system. In its 2010/11 Budget submission, CHA proposed six programs it recommended the Government fund as its first phase of health reform.
Explaining that Catholic Health Australia welcomes the Government's efforts to tackle climate change in its Green Paper, CHA also pointed out the financial impacts on the not-for-profit sector could be significant and should be quantified and provided for in advance of any cap-and-trade scheme's implementation.
Catholic Health Australia explained the likely consequences of the Tax Laws Amendment (Medicare Levy Surcharge Thresholds) Bill, including increases in public hospital surgery waiting times, longer waiting times for those needing cataract surgery or joint replacements, increased costs on public hospitals and over $400 million lost from the operational budgets of private hospitals.
Responding to the development of a new women's health policy, Catholic Health Australia is broadly supportive of the key elements in the discussion paper, particularly a focus on gender equity. But CHA argues that social factors such as education level, home life and their financial resources are sometimes stronger influencers on a person's health and well-being than biomedical factors.
1 The central place of health in Australia's social policy agenda: Addressing the social determinants of health to achieve social inclusion.