Australia has one of the best healthcare systems on the world. It has a private system that is complemented by a strong, fair and accessible public system known as Medicare.
The federal government, through the Medicare system, funds medical services, the pharmaceutical benefits scheme and health services to veterans, Aboriginals and Torres Straight Islanders. The state and territory governments regulate the public provision of healthcare services including public hospitals, mental and dental health services, ambulance services and community healthcare centres. Local governments help sustain the provision of this healthcare through the support of community health initiatives and local medical centres.
Australians have affordable access to a broad range of quality healthcare services that are either free to the patient or subject to a government or private rebate.
The two main public government subsidy schemes are Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). These schemes provide subsides and rebates for services provided by various medical practitioners and large portion of prescription medications bought from pharmacies. This reduces the out of pocket medical expenses for Australians, ensuring all Australians can access affordable healthcare. These schemes are further supported by Australia’s social welfare schemes which increase the benefits and rebates and lower the cost of healthcare for those who receive certain welfare payments such as an old age pensioner.