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Elections and Health Funding Tuesday News

We are getting into the election campaign and some days it sounds as if the  parties are auditioning for "Annie Get Your Gun" with a rousing chorus of "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better". 

The National Party are going to build a new hospital in Dunedin, although the message was somewhat obscured by a protest over equal pay.  It will cost over a billion dollars and be completed in 7-10 years, possibly using a public/private partnership.


Next we learn that the Labour Party will also build a new Dunedin hospital.  They will start in their first term, and don't favour the notion of a PPP which they describe as disastrous.


National tell us that 600,000 more kiwis will get $18 doctors visits and another 350,000 will get access to the Community Services Card. They intend using the CSC as the key to cheaper visits. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11908095

The Labour Party are going to make visits with a CSC $8, make teenager's visits much cheaper and increase subsidies for all visits. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/96184452/labour-announces-plan-to-slash-doctors-fees

See the pattern?  Cheaper GP visits will be welcome.  It's odd the the Government have only just discovered that people struggle to afford healthcare.   Let's hope that beneath these promises is an intention to review the models that are currently used for funding.  Using the CSC card indicates a move in that direction but it needs to be looked at in some detail.  Not that we want a review slowing up cheaper fees.

Health minister Johnathon Coleman also managed to find funds to do an extra 60 cochlear implants.  We wrote about that last week.  This takes the number funded from 40 a year to 100. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/health/news/article.cfm?c_id=204&objectid=11910949

Coleman has discovered that the shortfall for DHBs is rather higher than he thought.  But it's all good he says - "they won't run out of cash"!! http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/337953/coleman-reveals-117m-national-dhb-deficit

Tell that to Northland DHB who are withholding the annual report because of a funding deficit. They have a very large proportion of low incomes in the area resulting in higher needs.  And they are not funded for the total population of the area.  http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/337942/northland-dhb-withholds-annual-report-over-funding

So the news in health over the last week has focused on money.  "Want a better health system? Send cash".


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