Clinton Joins Campaign Against Managed Health Care – 30 January 1998

The managed health care policies followed by Federal Health Minister Dr Michael Wooldridge have been given a massive thumbs down by President Clinton’s moves to curb the abuses of the American managed care health system announced in his State of the Union address, Executive Director Australian Doctors’ Fund Stephen Milgate said today.

President Clinton called on the US Congress to write into law a ‘bill of rights’ to counter the disastrous impact managed care is having on American health care.

President Clinton specifically asked congress to legislate to:

  • allow patients to know all their medical options – not just the cheapest;
  • give patients the right to choose their own doctor;
  • give patients the right to accident and emergency care where needed and when;
  • protect the privacy of a patients medical records

“President Clinton’s statement vindicates the strong stand taken by doctors against managed care here in Australia” Stephen Milgate said.

“The Federal Health Minister and his advisors seem intent on embracing policies which because of electoral backlash their US political counterparts are now walking away from.”

“According to the latest Newspoll Dr Michael Wooldridge’s health policies have put the Coalition 15 points behind the ALP in health.”

“In Australia the Federal Government has endorsed or failed to prevent the selective contracting of hospitals by health funds, attempts to set up preferred provider schemes which restrict choice of doctor, and increasing demands by third parties including Government to access patient clinical information.”

In a recent report (Private Care for Public Patients) into the future suitability of a hospital management arrangement for public patients at Joondalup, WA, the State Auditor General reported:

“It is possible therefore for the Operator to seek to limit the quantity of services provided where , for example, the Operator considers it not to be in its commercial interests.” p 43.

“The WA Auditor General’s report is further evidence of a growing concern over the increasing Americanisation of public and private health care in Australia” Mr Milgate said.