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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 4025


Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/01/1976

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 4025

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F76/ 2 7
The Federal Government will conduct an investigation into the
! operation of Medibank. The investigation will be undertaken by a
: team to b. e chaired by Mr Austin Holmes the Director of the
Priorities Review Staff of the Department of Prime Minister and
Cabinet. ' Other members of the team will bje Dr Sidney Sax who is
being seconded specifically from his position as Chairman of the
Hospitals and Health Services Commission for this purpose, and
Mr Neil Hyden, ah Assistant Secretary from the Treasury.
, It is thd Government's policy to maintain Medibank,-
SThe investigation team, which will be serviced by the
Department of Health, will report in the first instance on
opportunities for improved efficiency in the running of Medibank.
Medibank will involve expenditure approaching $ 1,500 million
this year which would make it one of the largest single cost
items for the Government, approaching closely the nation-' s
defence budget. The Department of Health estimate for 1976-77
is over $ 2,000 million.
It is a new and expensive program and it is appropriate that
its operation should be reviewed at this stage so the taxpayers
can be assured they are getting good value for money from it.
The Government is becoming increasingly concerned, as are
members of the public and the medical and allied professions,
at repeated reports of abuse of Medibank.

It is important that these reports be examined as soon as
possible. The Government is not alone in suggesting the importance of
an investigationof Medibank-
The Health Insurance Commission, which closely monitors the
scheme, is concerned about certain aspects of its operation.
The investigation of Medibank will be in addition to the
review of Government expenditure being undertaken by the Administrative
Review Committee, under the Chairmanship of Sir Henry Bland, which the
Prime Minister announced on December 21. That Committee's area
of enquiry did not extend to Medibank.
There will be a close involvement of the States in the investigation
since they ave a primary responsibility in the provision of
health services. S I
See attachment-overleaf

1. To examine the operations o-f the Health Insurance
Irogram ( Medibank) and to report to Cabinet through
the Minister for Health on
fa) policy options available for controlling
I the cost oT the Program;
S( b) opportunities for administrative savings in
the operations of the Program.
2. To identify, in each case, the consequences of
implementing the various options and the economies
likely to result therefrom.
3. To have regard to the Government's desire to provide
the most effective and efficient system of high quality
health services delivery.

Transcript 4025