The pandemic – and developments in health care – have forced the Commonwealth government to commit to a massive increase in spending on health care this year.
In the 2019-20 budget, the Commonwealth promised an increase of A$540 million in health spending in 2020-21. In this year’s version, delivered by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last night, the promise is an order of magnitude greater: an uplift of $5.347 billion since the last economic statement.
During 2020-21 and 2021-22, likely to be the biggest years for the COVID-19 response, the Commonwealth is promising almost $10 billion of extra spending. Never before has the federal government opened the health purse strings to this extent.
Although there are 35 items in the health budget measures table – all detailed in a 163-page “Stakeholder Pack” – just five of them account for 94% of the increase in spending.
1. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)