Health Policy in the Market State by Linda Hancock

By Linda Hancock

Introduces the key concerns in health and wellbeing coverage in Australia, atmosphere them within the broader public coverage context.

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By Linda Hancock

Introduces the key concerns in health and wellbeing coverage in Australia, atmosphere them within the broader public coverage context.

Show description

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Sample text

In the health area, corporatism may refer to the way that governments (particularly conservative governments) have entered into direct negotiations with medical professional bodies (such as the Australian Medical Association) or with health business interests (such as the health insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry or corporate nursing home operators). Multi-national corporate business interests such as the pharmaceutical industry and medical indemnity insurers represent influential business interests, often directly consulted by governments.

Acknowledging conflicts between groups within medicine, this does not challenge the principle of professional monopoly. The second group, referred to by Alford as ‘corporate rationalists’, includes those such as governments and health insurers, with an interest in curbing health expenditures as well as concerns with equity of access and the provision of health services. Alford identifies the potential for change, from what he saw as the emerging structural interest of hospital administrators, medical schools, government regulatory or funding programs, in ‘breaking the professional monopoly of physicians over the production and distribution of health care’ (Alford 1975: 15).

Data on total direct-payment spending show that individuals pay a substantial share of non-government contributions to health care costs. This has direct effects in terms of equity. Hill outlines strategies adopted by consumer advocates to establish the need for political recognition of consumer co-payments for health care, and, drawing on Fraser (1989), concludes with an examination of the ‘politics of needs interpretation’ and the ‘discursive resources’ available to groups to express their needs.

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