This Week In The Bmj

Private healthcare may not be the panacea

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 10 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:0-f

Supporting private health insurance may be not the best option for governments. Hall and Maynard (p 357) analysed the Australian experience, where changes in government policies to support private health insurance (including a purchasing subsidy, discounted rate for those getting on the scheme at a young age, rebated co-payment, and a strong advertising campaign) increased the proportion of people insured but failed to reduce admissions to public hospitals. The changes were costly, primarily benefited wealthy people, increased inequality in the funding of care, and had no observable effects on efficiency, say the authors.

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