The Queensland government is calling on the Morrison government to commit to a 50-50 funding model for public health in this week’s federal budget.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the state government currently covers 55 per cent of the cost of running public health facilities.
The additional funding, estimated to be $1.5 billion a year, would go towards more beds, frontline staff and services.
Ms D’Ath said more people were turning to public hospitals due to a lack of affordable, bulk-billing GPs, especially in regional areas, and rising private health costs.
“All the states and territories, regardless of their political persuasion, have been calling on the Morrison government, demanding a fair 50-50 funding split,” she said.
“We can’t control the growth in demand because [of] failures in the primary and allied healthcare system and the Medicare system.
“Even those who are spending money on private health insurance are still turning to the public health system because either the services aren’t available or the private hospitals are not providing the services in the regions they should [be].
“We know COVID will continue to put pressure on our health system going forward and the Commonwealth is sitting on its hands.
“Its done nothing in this space and it is about time they provide a fair share.”
On Sunday, 264 people were in Queensland public hospitals with COVID, with the state recording one death and 7,738 new cases.
Ms D’Ath expected the Prime Minister to be throwing money at hospital equipment in the lead up to a federal election over the new few weeks, but said it would be a shallow form of funding.
“Don’t be confused about genuine long-term health funding versus one-off hits for equipment that we way then have to fund the infrastructure to house that equipment and the operational stuff to run it.”
Treasurer Cameron Dick said if the federal government agreed to the proposal, it would equate to $1.5 billion per year.
“We don’t see that as a significant investment when they’ve announced $70 billion in additional public funding since December,” Mr Dick said.
“We’re happy to work with the federal government about how they get there but let’s take that action in this budget on Tuesday so Queenslanders know they are getting the best possible healthcare.”
Mr Dick said the cost of specialists is beyond the reach of many Queenslanders and so was private healthcare.
One of the “quickest and fastest things” that should be done is to move out people living in hospitals who should be in aged care homes or disability care facilities.
“That’s the system the federal government is primarily responsible for,” Mr Dick said.
“We work in partnership in this nation in the delivery of public health care… but the missing ingredient, the missing money, is the money that should be coming from Canberra.”
The ABC has contacted federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s office for comment.