Australia's healthcare system: An opportunity for economic growth

Published: June 22, 2016

Executive summary

Australia’s universal healthcare system is under pressure. Many healthcare professionals, policymakers, and government officials share the view that although the quality of care is high, the country’s healthcare spending is unsustainable and a drain on the economy.

We propose an alternative view — one that sees the healthcare industry as a positive contributor to the economy through GDP, employment, innovation, and exports. Australia has the potential to sell its telemedicine and other telehealth services abroad, capture a share of the growing medical tourism market, and invest in foreign hospitals and other healthcare institutions.

In this report, we examine the Australian healthcare industry and identify opportunities where it can better compete in the global healthcare space by maximising its potential for export, attracting foreign investment and talent in the private sector, and commercialising public schemes.

Our suggestions for a way forward for Australia may also have application for other countries with strong healthcare systems that are facing similar challenges.

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Australia's healthcare system: An opportunity for economic growth

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