A leading Australian health body believes that the additional revenue generated by means testing the private health insurance rebate should be fed straight back into the health system.
According to president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Dr Steve Hambleton, the extra funding may help compensate the public hospital system for any extra demand that may occur as a result of the changes.
"Australia needs both a strong private sector and a well-funded public sector to deliver effective health care," he said yesterday (February 13).
Despite AMA analysis predicting that the changes will have a modest impact on private health membership should be the bill be passed, Dr Hambleton believes that participation rates must be maintained.
"The AMA would be concerned if more people than estimated gave up with cover or if the measure causes people to downgrade their cover to reduce the cost of their premiums," he added.
"If the changes make it through the parliament, the government must monitor the impact of this policy and be prepared to make adjustments if there is any significant reduction in private health insurance membership."