The Health News Australia March 26 2018

  • The AMA has singled out Bupa in its latest public health insurance report card, criticising its recent gap changes. Doctors are worried recent changes by Bupa will leave hospital patients with higher out of pocket costs. AMA President Michael Gannon recently said that the insurer will now only be providing maximum benefits for patients in hospitals with Bupa contracts. The association is worried the changes will mean patients will not only need to confirm their preferred doctor has a gap arrangement with Bupa, but also if that doctor has admitting rights with a hospital Bupa has a contract with.
  • The NSW Government and Opposition seem to be kicking into campaign mode a year out from the state election. Labor organised a full campaign launch in the western Sydney suburb of Penrith, with Opposition Leader Luke Foley putting forward his pitch of “schools and hospitals before stadiums” in a bid to capitalise on public opposition to the Government’s $2 billion plan to rebuild Olympic Stadium.
  • Almost 180,000 Australians with diabetes will be able to buy longer-lasting insulin worth $1800 a year for less than $40 a script from next week. The drug, which reduces low blood sugar issues at night, is one of 11 new treatments to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from April 1.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 26th of March 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/doctors-body-slam-bupa-hospital-change

The Australian Medical Association has singled out Bupa in its latest public health insurance report card, criticising its recent gap changes. Doctors are worried recent changes by Bupa will leave hospital patients with higher out of pocket costs.

Revealing its latest annual report card on private health insurance, the Australian Medical Association singled out the insurer’s new gap cover arrangements. AMA President Michael Gannon recently said that the insurer will now only be providing maximum benefits for patients in hospitals with Bupa contracts. The association is worried the changes will mean patients will not only need to confirm their preferred doctor has a gap arrangement with Bupa, but also if that doctor has admitting rights with a hospital Bupa has a contract with.
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Bupa clarified its changes on March seven, revealing customers will still be able to use the Medical Gap Scheme in public hospitals if they pre-book their treatment as a private patient at least two working days before they’re admitted. In the annual report card, Doctor Gannon also reiterated his association’s call for an end to so-called junk policies and said Australians should carefully consider what cover they need. The Turnbull government has announced reforms to insurance policies and how they are classified – into gold, silver, bronze and basic categories.

But the association says it’s important the changes are more than rebadging with a new label. It also warns that without affordability being addressed, insurance membership rates will continue to fall and the viability of the entire health system will be threatened. From April one, premiums will increase by an average three point ninety five percent.

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-25/nsw-government-pledges-450-million-to-nepean-hospital/9584850

The New South Wales Government and Opposition seem to be kicking into campaign mode a year out from the state election. Labor organised a full campaign launch in the western Sydney suburb of Penrith, with Opposition Leader Luke Foley putting forward his pitch of “schools and hospitals before stadiums” in a bid to capitalise on public opposition to the Government’s two billion dollar plan to rebuild Olympic Stadium.

But the spotlight on the event had to be shared with Premier Gladys Berejiklian. She too went to western Sydney and made an announcement at Nepean Hospital — seven minutes up the road and an hour before Labor’s launch was set to start. The Government pledged four hundred fifty million dollars for the second stage of the upgrade to Nepean Hospital in Penrith.

The first stage is being constructed and at a cost of five hundred seventy six million dollars.
Miss Berejiklian said the funding commitment guaranteed the second stage would be built as soon as the first stage was completed in two thousand twenty three.
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Planning will start on the second stage and is expected to include specialist services including a cancer centre, cardiac services and palliative care. Just over an hour later, Mister Foley made his pledge for if he wins the next election. In a speech to the party faithful, he promised a Labor government would spend three hundred million dollars rolling out air conditioning to public schools.
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The election will be held on March twenty three next year.

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/turnbull-government-cuts-cost-of-new-diabetes-cancer-asthma-arthritis-treatments/news-story/8806851c9b5d900c942eb3e235657c6a

Almost one hundred eighty thousand Australians with diabetes will be able to buy longer-lasting insulin worth one thousand eight hundred dollars a year for less than forty dollars a script from next week. The drug, which reduces low blood sugar issues at night, is one of eleven new treatments to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from April one.

The federal government has also slashed the cost of a ­special lung cancer drug, helping about two thousand patients who would have otherwise been required to pay up to one hundred thousand dollars for a round of treatment. The PBS listings cut the costs of the medicines to a maximum of thirty nine dollars and fifty cents per script, or just six dollars and forty cents for patients with concession cards. Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Coalition had subsidised more than eight point two billion dollars worth of new medicines since coming to government.
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About four hundred forty patients with T-cell lymphoma and more than nine hundred with basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, will now have access to new and discounted treatments. Other drugs, some worth more than one thousand dollars a year, will be made available to diabetes sufferers.

The new listings include methotrexate, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, which will help about two thousand three hundred people and would otherwise cost one thousand ninety three dollars a year. Almost one thousand two hundred patients with non infectious uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease, will be able to get a discounted treatment that had cost two thousand seven hundred dollars per course.

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