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National Health Amendment (COVID-19) Bill 2021

The National Health Amendment (COVID-19) Bill 2021 (the Bill) was introduced in the House of Representatives on 26 August 2021. The Bill will allow the Minister for Health to enter into agreements and authorise payments for the provision of COVID-19 vaccines (including boosters), treatments for COVID-19 and related consumables. This Flagpost will discuss the Bill, followed by some of the key funding arrangements to date for securing COVID-19 vaccines for domestic use, and COVID-19 treatments.   Read more...

Vaccination requirements for government payments: a brief history

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to public debate around vaccine incentives and mandates, including a proposal from Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese for a $300 payment for those vaccinated against the disease. Linking vaccinations to government payments is not a new policy idea in Australia—immunisation requirements for family assistance payments have been in place for decades. Rather than offering an incentive payment for families to immunise children, these requirements apply a financial penalty for those whose children are not immunised. This FlagPost sets out the current immunisation requirements for family payments and provides a brief history of these requirements. Read more...

Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority Amendment (Governance and Other Measures) Bill 2021

The Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on 16 June 2021. This FlagPost has been published in lieu of a Bills Digest. Purpose The main purpose of the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority Amendment (Governance and Other Measures) Bill 2021 (the Bill) is to reverse certain governance arrangements implemented in July 2017. It proposes amendments to the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority Act 2008 (the Act). The Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority (the OTA) is an independent statutory agency within the Health portfolio. It delivers a national program to improve organ and tissue donation and... Read more...

COVID-19 and private health insurance

The COVID-19 pandemic presents both opportunities and challenges to private health insurers, with short-term and long-term impacts and questions being raised about its role and relevance during this time. A recent report from the Australia Institute argues that restrictions on non-urgent elective surgery, applying from early April 2020, will likely result in ‘windfall’ profits for health insurers over the next six months. Read more...

New pharmacy agreement due this year

With the current community pharmacy agreement expiring on 30 June 2020, a new agreement is being negotiated. The Australian Government pays approved pharmacists to supply Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) medicines to patients. For community pharmacists, the amount of remuneration is agreed between the Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild, representing the majority of pharmacy owners) and set out in successive five-year community pharmacy agreements. Read more...

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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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