Paying our fair share means a stronger Australia and a better health system
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Medibank CEO Craig Drummond
At a time when there has been a lot of commentary about the ‘top end of town’ and all the things big business has done wrong, I think it’s important to remember the contribution that business makes to our community.
Political leaders have said that business needs to pull up its socks. And in many instances that is true. We have also been accused of not properly advocating for contributions that we make. And that is also true.
Now is as good a time as any to take a moment to reflect on how Australian businesses help to make the Australian economy stronger.
In the past 2-years alone Medibank has paid $10.5 billion in benefits – benefits paid directly on behalf of our customers – to ensure that they receive healthcare in the setting and timing of their choice.
What is less well known is the broader contribution that we make to our community.
As a good corporate citizen Medibank is a good corporate tax payer. We know that we have an obligation to pay our fair share – a share that contributes to the wider Australian community and to the continuity of universal healthcare.
Last financial year, Medibank paid $231 million in corporate income tax, and as we should too.
In releasing Medibank’s Tax Report today, our business meets our tax obligations in a transparent and open way, providing publicly available reports and proactively informing regulators, customers, and our shareholders.
In addition to income tax, Medibank also makes significant payroll and employer tax payments in Australia.
We pay what we are required to pay because it is the right thing to do. And it is right for our shareholders as much as it is for the country.
Paying our fair share means Australia’s health system is stronger.
Our nation’s health system has unequivocally benefitted from having public and private components. This relationship gives consumers options for their healthcare, as well as keeping pressure off public waiting lists and spurring on competition and innovation.
Private health insurance funds two in every five hospital admissions in Australia, representing 33% of all days of hospitalisation that would otherwise be borne by the public system. It also funds around 90% of day admissions for mental healthcare, 50% of all mental health admissions, 70% of joint replacements, 60% of chemotherapy, and 88% of retinal procedures.
The majority of elective surgeries (around 67%) in Australia are performed in private hospitals.
All Australians benefit from private health insurance as it takes pressure off the public health system and public hospitals, provides greater consumer choice, and reduces costs for taxpayers.
Some have argued that private health insurance detracts from our tax system by receiving subsidies and handouts. But we do not receive tax handouts or subsidies.
The means-tested private health insurance rebate is paid by the government to directly make policies more affordable for customers and families.
For every dollar spent on the rebate, around $3 does not have to be spent in the public system.
Australia’s public health system would only be weaker without a competitive, consumer-focussed private sector that pays its fair share of tax and makes a broader contribution to the overall health of our nation.