Dear Editor

The Australian Doctors’ Fund strongly supports any move that would allow for the creation of Self-Managed Health Funds/Health Savings Accounts as an option for meeting future health care costs (Health providers want to cut out insurance funds AFR 10 Oct).

Our Prime Minister has called on industry to strive for greater productivity and innovation in order to underpin future economic growth. By allowing Australians to save for their future health care needs, through a possibly tax effective Self-Managed Health Fund, the government would be demonstrating clearly that it is serious about what it advocates.

Currently, private health insurance funds recycle around 8% of all Australian health care expenditure. Meanwhile, Australians pay 17.5% of their health care costs directly from their own pocket and that figure has not changed significantly for the last 15 years. Freedom of choice is a foundation principal of the Coalition and Self-Managed Health Funds are one way to see it fully developed in health care financing. It makes good sense to create space for the development of Self-Managed Health Funds, alongside the Self-Managed Superfund system. Appropriate prudential regulation and boundary conditions, which define where and how the funds can be spent, could follow the Singaporean model as a starting point.

Australia has a unique balance of private and public health care, a Medicare safety net and a high standard of service delivery. Self-managed Health Funds would add to this strength.

Yours Faithfully,

John Harrison

Australian Doctors’ Fund
PO Box 12, Arncliffe 2205
Ph: 0418 234 151 (24 hours)