Rich opt for private, poor stuck in Medicare

Academics and analysts have voiced concerns over the long-term effects of the Government's Lifetime Health Cover scheme on Medicare. Private health fund membership has soared in the last year from 30 per cent to over 40 per cent. John Deeble, architect of Medicare, believes that private health insurance is now being perceived as an alternative to Medicare instead of a supplement. This becomes problematic when the majority of the middle and upper class are in private health insurance leaving the sick and poor in Medicare. Experts fear that Medicare standards will drop as a direct result of this and are concerned over proposed reforms of the system that could see private insurers directly rival Medicare.

‘The painful opt-out option', The Australian Financial Review, 11/10/00, pp 40 & 41.