Category Archives: Health

ELIZABETH HLAVINKA. High Opioid-Use Counties Voted Trump in 2016 (Medpage Today 22/6/2018)

Opioids are symptom, symbol of ‘larger social and economic problems’.  Counties with the highest rates of chronic prescription opioid use were far more likely to back Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, a new study of Medicare claims data found.  

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TERRY BARNES. Pharmacy power is a paper tiger (AFR 4/7/2018)

If something looks, walks and acts like a duck, it’s a duck. In the case of pharmacy giant Chemist Warehouse, however, it’s anything but.   

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MICHAEL MULLINS. Treatment of the mentally ill as ‘the next civil rights issue’

Humour touching on mental health is a delicate undertaking that can either enhance or destroy the dignity of those living with mental illness.

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JOHN MENADUE. Domestic violence is a greater threat than terrorism .

Last week in Sydney we saw the tragic death of two teenagers as a result of domestic violence. We know that over 12 months on average one woman is killed every week in Australia by a current or former partner. … Continue reading

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GREG AUSTIN: Counter-terrorism lessons for family murders

It is time to police family violence perpetrators as rigorously as we police terrorists. We can learn from the country’s successes in counter-terrorism work and perhaps apply some lessons to the family violence challenges.

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IAN WEBSTER. Government and the medicalisation of disabilities

Each year two thirds of applications for a Disability Support Pension are rejected; a rejection rate which has doubled in 8 years (Christopher Knaus, Guardian, 8 June 2018).

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TIM WOODRUFF. Health, Class Warfare, and Social Justice

Class warfare has been with us forever. It could be called a fight for social justice. Indeed, it would seem to be integral to the stepwise progress we have made over centuries as we have moved to a society which … Continue reading

Posted in Health | 5 Comments

CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. The Melbourne casino, and irresponsible gambling

Allegations by whistleblowers about the way poker machines are operated at the casino in Melbourne have underlined how Victoria’s Casino Control Act allows pokies to operate in ways that encourage harmful gambling.

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DOUG TAYLOR. Kicking goals in the fight against drugs

The heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo at the World Cup puts Portugal on the world stage. But behind the bright lights of the soccer World Cup, Portugal is leading the world in another arena: its efforts to curb drug abuse.  

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STEPHEN LEEDER. Reviewing the Book of Kells’ schedule of medical fees.

Government contributions to medical fees are set out in a large book of rules. It is under review. But are rules for individual fees for individual services the way to go? Fee-for-service may be running out of date.

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JOHN DWYER. Health care reform – Part 2.

Without acceptance of a ten year plan and the creation of an instrument to implement that plan we will not be able to engineer the evidence based structural reforms to our health care system that will improve quality, equity and … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Coalition legacies.

There are six major issues that dominate public life today and require resolution. Those issues are –the dire consequences following the Iraq invasion, tax cuts during the mining boom that result in continuing budget deficits and debt increases, the threat … Continue reading

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JENNIFER DOGGETT and LOUISA GORDON Out-of-pocket costs for healthcare are a problem for all Australians

Editor: Jennifer DoggettAuthor: Louisa Gordon (introduction by Jennifer Doggett)on: June 13, 2018In: Co-payments, health financing and costs, Healthcare and health reform Out-of-pocket health costs (OOPs) are a major challenge facing the Australian health system.  Australians pay for a higher proportion … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. Health care reform – Part 1.

Without acceptance of a ten year plan and the creation of an instrument to implement that plan, we will not be able to engineer the evidence-based structural reforms to our health care system that will improve quality, equity and cost … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. “Health Care Homes”, set up to fail and doing so spectacularly.

Touted by Minister Hunt as the biggest health care reform initiative since the introduction of Medicare, the “Health Care Home” model for the better management of patients with two or more chronic diseases is floundering, beset with predictable organisational and … Continue reading

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RUTH ARMSTRONG. Four Corners- Mind The Gap episode: a one dimensional look at a multifaceted problem.

A single tweet put Monday night’s Four Corners episode into perspective for me. I’d been trying to put my finger on what seemed out of kilter with the whole segment and there it was: the program had virtually ignored the bedrock … Continue reading

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JENNIFER DOGGETT. Health Budget Gaps.

Prevention, out-of-pocket costs, and oral health. 

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MICHAEL PASCOE. Profit-rich private health insurers burning billions on non-health costs

Australian capitalism’s sheltered workshop, the private health insurance industry, is burning billions of dollars a year unrelated to Australians’ health.

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TIM WOODRUFF. A budget for inequality, worsening health outcomes and decreased productivity.

As a financially comfortable part-time medical specialist, I will be in the group receiving the highest tax cut immediately, whilst my daughters working full time at much lower income will receive about one third of that. It’s of even more … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. Profit trumping professionalism! All too often the case in Australian Pharmacies.

On the third of May, Health Minister Greg Hunt spoke at a conference organised by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. This is the pharmacy owners association (all pharmacists) which in 2011, notoriously, entered into a deal with the vitamin and … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Are pharmacists professionals or shop keepers?

Pharmacists are the most under-utilised health professionals in the country. The Australian Pharmacy Guild is happy to keep  it that way.  

Posted in Health, Politics | 4 Comments

MICHAEL THORN. Corporate power unchecked: Time to redress a dangerous imbalance

Are corporate interests too powerful? Are vested interests beyond democratic control? Are our political institutions even concerned to do so?

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PHILLIP BAKER, MARK LAWRENCE. Sweet power: the politics of sugar, sugary drinks and poor nutrition in Australia.

Unhealthy diets and poor nutrition are leading contributors to Australia’s burden of disease and burgeoning health-care costs. In 1980, just 10% of Australian adults were obese, today that figure is 28% – among the highest in the world. And yet, … Continue reading

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JAMES FERNYHOUGH. Revealed: Australia’s richest professionals and the suburbs they live in.

If you’re a surgeon living in one of the opulent suburbs on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour, then congratulations: you are a member of the highest paid group in Australia. This will come as no surprise for people who … Continue reading

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CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. Crown Casino -Too big to regulate?

Last week, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation imposed a record fine, of $300,000, on Crown Casino. The fine, and a letter of censure, were imposed following revelations that Crown employees had ‘tampered’ with electronic gambling machines (EGMs, … Continue reading

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ALEX WODAK. Why is the drug policy debate in Australia stuck?

Drug policy in Australia has been debated for decades but doesn’t seem to be getting close to resolution. However some progress is being made. Examples include the Victorian government’s decision in 2017 to establish a Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Melbourne … Continue reading

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STEPHEN LEEDER. Home (not so) sweet home

Medical homes, where you as a patient are known personally by name and history and where a team of health professionals, generally led by a general practitioner, arrange and provide your care, have not taken off as expected. Why? 

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PETER MARTIN. It’s time for sweetest tax of them all.

Never before has a tax been such an instant success. I am talking about what happened in Britain last Friday. That’s when new so-called sugar tax sprung into life, with much of its work already done. The whole idea was … Continue reading

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LEANNE WELLS. Private health care in Australia: health policy’s wicked problem.

The anguish expressed by many of the 1,200 respondents to the Consumers Health Forum’s Out of Pocket Pain survey highlights the widening gulf between the cost of modern medical care and the struggle of many Australians to pay for that … Continue reading

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RUTH ARMSTRONG*. Pathways to justice pass through health: six ways the health sector can help reduce the harms of over-incarceration.

A recent post at Croakey highlighted the major findings of the Australian Law Reform Commission’ s Pathways to Justice report on the over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The report was tabled in parliament last week and is … Continue reading

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