Horizontal equity in the Australian health care system: Exploring the unknowns and updating the knowns
Achieving equity is a central policy objective of many care health systems, including Australia. The importance of evaluating the performance of health systems in terms of equity has been in the spotlight for both policymakers' and academics' perspectives in the last two and half decades. The contribution of health economists to develop measurement tools for assessing healthcare equity is substantial and there has been an explosion in the numbers of empirical applications using survey data since early 2000. However, despite this interest, there are substantial gaps in our knowledge and there is a new opportunity of using administrative data to routinely report indicators of health care equity. Australia’s universal health insurance scheme, Medicare was established to achieve equitable distribution of health care. Empirical evidence on equity in access to health care from Australia suggests that the system follows a similar pattern to many OECD health systems where the distribution of GP visits is pro-poor and specialist visits are pro-rich. Existing Australian studies have relied on national health surveys and the findings are not routinely updated. Application of administrative data is almost rare and health care equity analysis at the local level is also absent in Australia. The main objective of this PhD is to contribute methodologically to health care equity analysis using administrative data in the Australian setting. This project will also explain local level variation in inequity of health care service use. Another goal of this PhD is to study and explain horizontal equity in health care utilization among indigenous Australians. Finally, an update of previous empirical evidence using recent national health surveys will be another outcome of this PhD.
Prof Jane Hall, A/Prof Kees van Gool and Prof Rosalie Viney
Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation (CHERE), University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Australia