National Cabinet approves $1.2 billion package to strength Medicare

National Cabinet approves $1.2 billion package to strength Medicare
National Cabinet approves $1.2 billion package to strength Medicare

National Cabinet met in Canberra today and made important progress on key reforms to strengthen health system, secure the future of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and keep Australians safe.

First Ministers have agreed to a further $1.2 billion package of Strengthening Medicare measures to take pressure off hospitals. These measures are expected to grow and support health workforce, while reducing unnecessary presentations to emergency departments.

The Commonwealth will:

  • Fund and implement, with states and territories, the health-related recommendations from the Independent Review of Health Practitioner Regulatory Settings (Kruk Review)
  • Boost funding for Medicare Urgent Care Clinics; and
  • Supporting older Australians through avoided hospital admission and earlier discharge from hospital
  • National Cabinet endorsed Commonwealth increasing National Health Reform Agreement contributions to 45 per cent over a maximum of a 10-year glide path from 1 July 2025, with an achievement of 42.5 per cent before 2030.

    National Cabinet endorsed the current 6.5 per cent funding cap being replaced by a more generous approach that applies a cumulative cap over the period 2025-2030 and includes a first year ‘catch up’ growth premium.

    As part of these reforms, agreed to a continued focus on addressing elective surgery waiting lists as a priority.

    Health Ministers will commence the renegotiation of the National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA) Addendum to embed long-term, system-wide structural health reforms, including considering the NHRA Mid-Term Review findings.

    These reforms will focus on the entire health system and move towards a more integrated, equitable, efficient and sustainable system. This will give Australians better access to health services they need, when they need them, and alleviate current pressures in public hospitals across the country.

    The National Cabinet agreed to jointly design additional Foundational Supports to be jointly commissioned by the Commonwealth and the states, with the work oversighted by the First Secretaries Group. Additionally, the Council of Federal Financial Relations (CFFR) will oversight costs of the reforms and report to National Cabinet.

    An initial tranche of legislation will be introduced into the Commonwealth Parliament in the first half of 2024, with rule changes phased in as developed.

    The delivery of Foundational Supports would look to be delivered through existing government service settings where appropriate (e.g. child care, schools), phased in over time.

    Funding would be agreed through new Federal Funding Agreements, with additional costs split 50-50, and final details to be settled through CFFR.

    The Commonwealth agreed to cap an additional expenditure for states and territories on new foundational disability services to ensure the combined health and disability reforms will see all states and territories better off.

    These commitments demonstrate Governments’ ongoing commitment to the NDIS. Discussions with the disability community will continue over the coming months as we work together to make the positive changes needed for people with disability.

    December 6, 2023