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Health Costs and Policy in an Ageing Australia

Chairman's speech

Commission Chairman Gary Banks delivered the 2008 Health Policy Oration at the Australian National University (ANU) on 26 June 2008.

Contents

Introduction

The health 'market'
A creature of government

Technological change is a key driver of health costs
Understanding technolgy's cost impacts
The outlook for technology

Population ageing will compound future cost increases
Impacts of ageing
Health costs rise (sharply) with age
Counter-arguments don't hold up
The impacts of ageing could be understated
Projected health expenditure
Identifying the ageing-related component

Some policy implications
Three broad options for governments
Attaining the ideal: a 'market' analogy

Demand-side policies
A bigger role for 'pricing'?
Information and consumer 'empowerment'
Preventive action
Regulatory options

Supply-side policies
Incentives and productivity
Better decision-making processes
Health workforce regulation and remuneration

System-wide issues

References