Australia's public health insurance scheme, Medicare, commenced in 1984, provides universal coverage for citizens, permanent residents, and visitors from countries which have reciprocal arrangements with Australia. The aim of the national health care funding system is to give universal access to health care while allowing choice for individuals through a substantial private sector involvement in delivery and financing. Australian Medicare is financed largely from general taxation revenue, which includes a Medicare levy based on a person's taxable income.
Under Australia's federal system of government, responsibility for funding and delivery of health services is shared between the commonwealth (federal) and the eight state and territory Governments. The Commonwealth Government has a national leadership role in health policymaking and is responsible for key public health, health protection and quarantine services. Its role in service delivery is, however, limited and it operates primarily as a funder/insurer of medical, pharmaceutical and aged-care services.
It also plays an important role in regulating and subsidizing private health insurance; as well as contributing funds to support state and territory governments' provision of health services. State and territory governments own and operate public hospitals as well as delivering a variety of mental health, dental, health promotion, school health and community health programs.
http://www.commonwealthfund.org/fellowships/fellowships_show.htm?doc_id=372961 (accessed 23.04.2009)
Overall the Australian health care system comprises a diversity of arrangements for planning, funding and delivering health services across the three tiers of Government (national, state and local) and features a mix of private and public sector involvement. Australia’s health system provides care to its citizens at three levels - primary preventative, secondary and tertiary levels. Access to private health services is on a fee paying private health insurance basis. Approximately 43% of all Australians have some form of private health insurance cover.
Validated July 2008