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The Price of Health

No area of social welfare in Australia has seen as much conflict as health policy. Clashes have involved the medical profession, bureaucrats, friendly societies and political parties, often to the detriment of the patient. This book provides background to the current debate by studying the political conflict over health policy in Australia from 1910-1960. It looks at both state and national levels for the origins of the system of publicly subsidized private practice epitomized in the fee-for-service scheme. The different currents within state policy are analysed along with the various obstructions to the development of the national health insurance policy. The role of the British Medical Association, which in its indigenous form continues to have a hostile relationship with the government because of its determination to maintain its independence and fee-for-service practices, is closely examined. The Price of Health will be of particular interest to health policy makers.
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Table of Contents

List of tables; Preface; Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; Part I. Medicine and the State: 1900 to 1939: 1. 'A game of animal grab', medical practice, 1920-39; 2. National hygiene and nationalization: the failure of a federal health policy, 1918-39; 3. Doctors, the states and interwar medical politics; 4. The defeat of national health insurance; Part II. The Reconstruction of Medicine? Planning and Politics, 1940 to 1949: 5. The BMA wins the War; 6. From 'Sales and service' to 'cash and carry': the planning of postwar reconstruction; 7. Paying the doctor: the BMA caught between salaried medicine and fee-for-service; 8. Relieving the patient, not the doctor: the Hospital Benefits Act; 9. A war of attrition: the fate of the pharmaceutical benefits scheme; 10. The limits of reform: the Chifley government and a national health service, 1945-9; Part III. The Public and the Private: 11. Private practice, publicly funded: the Page health service; 12. Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index.


"...quite persuasive in proposing a complex and nuanced reading of Australian medical politics." Christopher H. Foreman, Jr., American Political Science Review " will be an important source for future students of the period." Anne Crichton, Pacific Affairs

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