AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today that an attack on
doctors by the Australian Health Insurance Association (AHIA) indicates that
health insurers must be planning another round of premium increases.
The AHIA is reported in the Herald Sun
saying '...the insurance industry called for an urgent crackdown on
second-rate surgeons and dodgy medical devices to cut rising medical costs ...'
that '... the only way to control rampant health inflation was to stop paying
for poor outcomes ...'
Dr Pesce said the health insurers have no right or expertise
to make such ill-informed comments about highly skilled medical professionals.
"The health insurers are playing their annual game of
blaming doctors for the hikes in their premiums," Dr Pesce said.
"This is gross hypocrisy on the day that the Australian
Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reveals that the funds spend more on
their own administration than they do on medical services.
"During 2007-2008, the private health insurance funds spent
11.2 per cent ($0.9 billion) of their recurrent health expenditure on
administration compared with 10.3 per cent ($0.8 billion) on medical services.
"The AHIA has kicked an own goal.
"Australians receive the highest quality medical care in the
world from the most highly-skilled medical workforce.
"A poor medical outcome can occur for many reasons, even
with the most skilful medical care, but the AHIA's misguided criticism will not
do anything to improve quality and safety.
"Patients can be confident they are getting the best
possible care from their doctors, but they are less confident that they are
getting the best value for money from their health insurers.
"The only thing "second-rate" is the AHIA's failure to
provide evidence for its shameless attack on surgeons, and the only thing
"dodgy" is its attempt to shift the blame for premium increases away from the
funds," Dr Pesce said.