One area public policy we haven’t covered on the show before is health. Australia’s health system has always faced significant budgetary and delivery challenges. To discuss this issue we invited on Terry Barnes who has been a senior advisor to two federal health ministers Michael Woolridge and Tony Abbott. He was the person who initially proposed the Abbott Government’s ill-fated $7 Medicare co-payment. He currently is a public policy consultant and is a regular contributor to the Spectator Australia. He has appeared on Sky News and regularly appears at many conservative and libertarian events in Australia.
Terry describes the current problems with Australia’s health system, how it is contributing the current levels of government debt in the nation and the resistance in the community and medical establishment to any type of change. Terry reflects on the failure of the Abbott Government’s proposed $7 Medicare co-payment, how the politics and salesmanship of it was mishandled and how it has likely led to future Coalition governments becoming very hesitant to propose major changes to Medicare or any other part of health policy in Australia. We explore with Terry some free market health solutions such as health savings accounts and the benefits that private health insurance has brought to our health system.
Given that Terry was once an advisor to Tony Abbott we ask him about what he believes the future holds for Tony Abbott. We get his opinion of if there is a possibility he could return the leadership and if not what other role he could play in a Coalition Government. We also try to cut through the media spin about Tony Abbott, what really drives him in politics and how his talents can best be utilized.