Healthcare experts diagnose fundamental problems with our health system – it remains oriented to acute and episodic illness and curative responses even though we are now in an age of chronic illness, which requires continuing and holistic care, and a more preventative approach. Not only does this disjunction between disease and service provision affect the quality of care, but it also provides incentive for overservicing and overcharging. This event examines how we can best marshal public attitudes and research-based expertise with economic and political imperatives to build a Medicare that is fit for its next forty years.

The Commonwealth Health Minister, Hon Mark Butler MP, will deliver a keynote address, reflecting on the nation-shaping Labor legacy of Medicare and the status of the government’s reform agenda for Medicare.

The event will also examine the place of Medicare in the Australian imagination in comparison to health schemes in other countries; political and bureaucratic management of the Medicare ‘brand’ over the decades; the corporatisation of healthcare; federalism and healthcare; the declining state of public health journalism; the role of unions in the establishment of Medicare, Indigenous and other grassroots and consumer perspectives on Medicare services, and the politics and economics of health care.


Keynote Address: Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care
To mark Medicare’s 40th anniversary, the federal Health Minister the Honourable Mark Butler MP will reflect on the nation-shaping Labor legacy of Medicare. In the face of a savage assault at the time of its introduction and decades of cuts and neglect since, 40 years of universal health insurance has materially improved the health and welfare of generations of Australians. As we look ahead to the next 40 years and health systems around the world face challenges like global workforce shortages and a growing need for complex care, Minister Butler will outline how a stronger Medicare will deliver both health and hip pocket benefits to through some foundational and long-overdue reforms, including providing an update on the next wave of reforms that will build a stronger Medicare.


Attitudes to Medicare and access to services: Results from a pilot survey
Prof Catherine Bennett, Deakin University


Modernising Medicare: The politics of health care reform
Prof Mark Cormack, ANU/Head of Commonwealth Scope of Practice Review, Dr Nicole Higgins, President, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Chair Assoc Prof James Gillespie


Consuming Medicare: Perspectives from the Grassroots
Nicole Bartholomeusz, Cohealth, Dr Elizabeth Deveny, Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Tan Nguyen, National Oral Health Alliance/Deakin University, Chair Prof Matthew Ricketson


What has happened to primary health care since Medibank/Medicare?
Assoc Prof James Gillespie, Menzies Centre for Public Health, Sydney University


Popular attitudes to Medicare and the NHS
Assoc Prof Carolyn Holbrook, Deakin University


The labour movement and universal health care
Dr Liam Byrne, ACTU


Tracing the Tides of Health Journalism in Australia
Prof Matthew Ricketson and Dr Chris Scanlon, Deakin University



Treating Cancer Under Medicare and Conclusion
Dr Tom Kehoe, Cancer Council Victoria, and Assoc Prof Carolyn Holbrook