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Not often I'm right but this time . . I wish I wasn't. The medicare surcharge thing came right out of left field . .wham . .I was expecting the rebate to be slashed in spite of promises but this will be just as damaging I fear.

When on the one hand the govt takes action which is guaranteed to put up costs and on the other threatens that it will not allow a fee rise you can only conjecture that there is a political agenda afoot.

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I was prepared for HSP to tank, which it did & I took my bat & ball home tout suite. But I thought this was going to hold up and now I'm not so sure.

I mean, in the long term you'd think it's got to be a goer . . but I'm mindful of the words of John Maynard Keynes

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In reply to: alonso on Monday 16/06/08 04:05pm

This is looking like going the way of HSP and the facts are becoming clearer but gloomier (if that's not a contradiction in terms) . .a report from the Catholic Health Commission:




Public hospital waiting times 'likely to expand'


Hospital waiting times are likely to expand says Catholic Health Australia. (ABC News: Giulio Saggin, file photo)

An operator of hospitals has warned that changes to Medicare could blow out public hospital waiting lists by 200,000 in the next 12 months.


Catholic Health Australia runs some of the country's biggest public teaching hospitals.


It says a move to lift the income threshold for the Medicare levy surcharge will add a $400-million-a-year burden to public hospitals and hurt the poor and the elderly.


The Government has questioned the figures, though it has not got any of its own, saying it is difficult to forecast the consequences of the new policy.


Health Minister Nicola Roxon is continuing to defend the decision to double the income threshold at which people without private health cover are forced to pay an extra one per cent Medicare levy.


"Nearly 500,000 taxpayers will immediately gain tax relief because of this measure," she said.


The Government's own figures predict 485,000 Australians will ditch their health insurance, but it is silent on the effect on insurance premiums, pressure on the public hospital system or what it will cost the states to treat extra patients.


Now Catholic Health Australia has crunched Treasury's drop out numbers. Chief executive Martin Laverty predicts public hospital waiting lists could blow out by 200,000.


"We've applied the Private Health Insurance Administration, or PHIAC, data to what would happen when 486,000 adults and their children drop out of private health insurance," he said.


"That gives us this figure of a decline of some $400 million in private hospital activity and we know that $400 million buys 200,000 episodes of care."


Catholic Health runs 21 not-for-profit public hospitals, including some of the nation's largest teaching hospitals. Mr Laverty says Parliament should block the Budget measure.


If not, he warns older Australians will be forced to wait longer for hip and knee replacements with low and middle income earners hit hardest and insurance premiums to jump 10 per cent.


"This is not by any means a request for our public hospitals," he said.


"Rather it is a request that the Government consider the impact that this is likely to have on low income earners around Australia, which after all was the group of people that this change in the Medicare levy surcharge threshold was meant to help."


The Government insists it is removing an unfair tax slug that soon would have caught 40 per cent of Australians.


It has not modelled the effect of its own Budget decision on the public hospital system, but Ms Roxon questions Mr Laverty's critique.


"What's clear from the work that other economists have done is that you have to make some very bold assumptions in many different directions to be able to predict the sorts of figures that Catholic Health are predicting," she said.


"I haven't seen the assumptions that they've made, but I think it would be very difficult for them to have a high level of confidence in those predictions."


The states have signalled to the Commonwealth if demand for public hospital services increases, they will push for compensation.


The Victorian Government is working on how to measure the effect of the Medicare surcharge overhaul and is vowing to raise the matter when health ministers next meet in 10 days time.



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I am still contemplating getting out altogether but am puzled why there would be a 4% rise in such uncertain times for the private hospital industry.

Anyone got any thoughts? I suppose tthere could be some good figures coming out but I would have thought the long term prospects would tell against short term gains.

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Retail investors that are not cash rich may be selling off some of their shares at the moment to pcik up $15,000 of cheaper shares. Are you already a holder or did you just pick up yoru first batch? If you are already a holder you will be eligible for the SPP. $40 million probably means we will not get our full allocation though.
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