Anthony Albanese has detailed his administration’s Medicare reforms — including a “patient ID” system that will give nurses and pharmacists more powers in primary care and improve after-hours care.
After a national cabinet meeting on Friday, Mr Albanese announced the states had approved his $2.2 billion plan to strengthen Medicare – after Health Secretary Mark Butler announced earlier this year that the system was no longer fit for purpose.
The Prime Minister says the new measures will improve access to after-hours care, expand the care workforce and reduce rising costs in the national disability insurance scheme.
A patient ID system called MyMedicare will also be introduced as part of six reform measures outlined in the national cabinet.
The ID system aims to help register Aussies with their local doctor and allow the government to understand what issues are compelling people to seek medical help.
Anthony Albanese announced that the states had approved his $2.2 billion plan to strengthen Medicare
A patient ID system called MyMedicare will also be introduced as part of six reform measures outlined in the national cabinet
Mr Albanese said health will be the main focus of the national cabinet for 2023, with reform of the sector to be discussed at a meeting in the final quarter of the year.
“Among other things, patients were identified who regularly show up in emergency rooms. We want to make sure there’s a registry there so we can get in touch,” he told reporters on Friday.
The national cabinet also discussed the national disability insurance scheme and committed to a framework to ensure it becomes more financially sustainable.
Mr Albanese said the NDIS is currently unsustainable and will represent the largest cost to the federal budget.
More than US$720 million has been allocated to strengthen the capacity of the agency responsible for the program and to better support participants.
“We need a sustained growth trajectory for the NDIS to support equity and fairness for all Australians living with a disability, including those who are ineligible for the NDIS,” said Mr Albanese.
‘We want to make sure that the promise of the NDIS is fulfilled.’
The NDIS framework calls for a target of no more than 8 percent annual cost growth of the system by July 2026.
The Prime Minister says the new measures will improve access to after-hours care, expand the care workforce and reduce rising costs in the national disability insurance scheme
State and territory leaders also agreed to support plans for the national cabinet to develop reforms to improve tenants’ rights.
“What we are not striving for is to be absolutely uniform because different states will have different circumstances, but there are measures and commitments that every state and territory does in this area,” Mr. Albanese said.
“There are a number of measures being considered by state and territory governments to strengthen the tenant rights system.”
Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley previously said the Medicare system needs more support.
“Wrestling with the prime ministers has become a bit of a national sport,” she said.
“People need access to doctors and this discussion is absolutely crucial today. We need to get our healthcare system back to where it was.”
It was the first national cabinet meeting for newly elected NSW Prime Minister Chris Minns, leaving Tasmanian Prime Minister Jeremy Rockliff as the only Liberal leader in the group.
The national cabinet also discussed national qualification agreements, the transition to net zero and support for the Indigenous Voice referendum.
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