Public Patients Suffer as Gov/PHI Squabble

Filed under Letters ~ by Editor on  4 Nov 2019

Today’s report of the squabble between State Governments and private health insurance companies over charges for privately insured patients who use public hospital beds leaves public patients at risk.

While they fight about money, privately insured patients take up bed in public hospitals. Meanwhile my patients wait six to eighteen months and sometimes more just to get into such public hospital beds. At the same time Emergency Departments struggle to find a bed for patients requiring admission. How fair is that?

All those waiting patients have public health insurance,” said Dr Woodruff.” It’s called Medicare, paid for through taxes. The benefits are meant to be distributed according to need. They aren’t. Instead taxes are used to support privately insured patients to use scarce beds in public hospitals whilst public patients wait on trolleys in Emergency Departments or on waiting lists for surgery.

Privately insured patients now have the opportunity to jump the public hospital queues in two ways courtesy of taxpayer funded support from the Federal Government. Firstly they can go to private hospitals where 40% of their costs are covered by taxes. Secondly they can push public patients out of public hospital beds.

Dr Tim Woodruff
Doctors Reform Society.

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