Texans are bearing the cost of keeping the working class out of the statehouse

In March, members of the Texas House of Representatives presented a proposal to expand Medicaid benefits. The bill, signed by 67 Democrats and nine Republicans, had enough votes to pass. It would have set Texas on the path to join the majority of US states (38 so far) that have expanded their populations’ eligibility for Medicaid—which provides healthcare insurance to low-income groups—since it became a possibility under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In Texas, Medicaid is ...

Budget 2021 reaction: splash of cash but universities and renewables left in the cold – Australia politics live updates

Coalition budget delivers $30bn in tax breaks and money for fossil fuel projects but no measures to help struggling universities or clean energy projects. Follow all the latest news and reaction to the 2021 federal budget as it happens

And along with the fact the international border is expected to remain closed for another year at least (a whole other year – which means stranded Australians have up to a year to wait to come home) there is also the issue of wage growth which doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it should.

For me these are the most important number out of the budget - slower wages growth than ever before, and nothing predicted over 2.5% till 2025.

Remember the RBA says wages need to grow above 3% in order to get interest rates to rise https://t.co/6HBeBZMKqM pic.twitter.com/qLZ7es4Dw4

There was nothing in the budget (again) for dental.

It’s kind of amazing how little fuss there is about an entire section of health being excised from universal health care. If you have ever needed to get to a dentist and can’t afford one, so have had to wait for a publicly funded position, you know just how detrimental to your health and life lack of access to good dental care is. I grew up with the school dental van visits as my only access to dental care and have had to rely on dental vouchers more than once.

More than six out of 10 over-75s in Australia suffer from gum disease, while more than one in three Australians aged 75 and over have complete tooth loss,” she said.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety heard distressing evidence of older patients going without basic dental care such as toothbrushing and denture cleaning.

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Huge jump in Australians seeking mental health help during pandemic

In just one month three helplines were contacted 140,000 times, and 7.2m Medicare-subsidised services were delivered over six months

In just four weeks during the pandemic, Australians contacted three mental health helplines more than 140,000 times, and 7.2m Medicare-subsidised mental health services were delivered in just over six months.

On Thursday the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare published a series of reports examining the effect of Covid-19 on the health system, with data showing a substantial increase in mental health-related services since 20 March when pandemic restrictions were first introduced.

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What is going to happen to the Affordable Care Act?

There’s a new Supreme Court justice, Election Day is less than a week away, and the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality is set to be argued before the high court in two weeks. If you’re wondering about what this all means for the future of Obamacare, you’re not alone.

What happens to Obamacare if the Supreme Court decides against the ACA? What happens if Joe Biden wins the election? Or if Donald Trump remains in office? American healthcare coverage could be significantl...

Coronavirus Australia live: Victoria reports 113 new cases and 15 deaths and NSW records 12 cases

Senate censures aged care minister Richard Colbeck and security firms involved in guarding Melbourne quarantine hotels continue giving evidence at the state’s inquiry. Follow live news and updates today

In other news:

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed an interim parliamentary committee report that recommends that Medicare-subsidised telehealth be made permanent.

We are pleased that the interim report of the select committee on financial technology and regulatory technology has backed the RACGP’s calls for telehealth to be made permanent in its recommendations.

With the September deadline looming, patients and GPs urgently need clarity on the future of telehealth and e-prescribing services. Patients with long-term conditions are already being booked in for appointments after 30 September, and general practices need to know whether telehealth is an option.

The last thing we need is a lack of clarity or significant disruption for patients and GPs across the country. Telehealth must be extended while we work on a suitable long-term solution.

The House is about to adjourn, but Labor has moved a motion to try and get the sitting to continue (which will fail).

And oh God, I have just been told we might end up sitting for four weeks straight after budget, because the quarantine for the MPs is a little too difficult to wrangle.

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Coronavirus Australia live update: anxiety grows over NSW mystery cases as curve begins to flatten in Victoria – latest news

NSW authorities are concerned about a number of Covid-19 cases in the past six weeks where the source was unknown. Follow live

It was rolled out really quickly - but it’s been a massive help for a lot of people. Now the AMA wants Medicare subsidised tele-health sessions to continue. As AAP reports:

Australia’s peak medical group has urged the federal government to extend Medicare-subsidised telehealth services until March as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Behind each of those daily death reports, is a whole life.

They are reported as "three men in their 80s" or "two women in their 90s" - this series looks at the lives behind the numbers - From tragedy in the Philippines to Melbourne matriarch: family lose beloved 'Nanay' to Covid-19 https://t.co/JYC1K11hVA

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Coronavirus Australia live update: national cabinet to discuss hotel quarantine and Victoria lockdown

State and territory leaders to consider cap on international arrivals as Melbourne infections grow. Follow live news and updates

Reproductive health provider Marie Stopes Australia says it is concerned that telehealth services introduced as part of the coronavirus support package in April could be rolled back in September, increasing the cost to people accessing termination services.

A study published in BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health journal, on patient experiences of accessing medical abortion services at Marie Stopes using a telehealth in 2017, was released on Friday.

Marie Stopes Australia says women could face higher out-of-pocket costs when they try to access discreet medical terminations if the measures are done away with.

Before the pandemic, people were only allowed to bill Medicare for telehealth when it was their regular GP or one they had seen in the past six months.

A-League boss Greg O’Rourke was just on Radio National, and told host Hamish McDonald he was “pretty relieved” that three Melbourne-based clubs have obtained permission to enter NSW.

About 120 players and staff from Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory and Western United will fly up via charter flight today, then spend 14 days in quarantine, being shuttled from the hotel to a quarantined training ground.

Yeah absolutely, absolutely, as the head of the league it is my responsibility and I take full accountability for it.

No departure plans have been announced, with head of leagues Greg O’Rourke announcing on Thursday each traveller will need to have tested negative to Covid-19 before making the trip.

Regular testing has been ongoing at all A-League clubs and O’Rourke said when Western United’s most recent swabs had been cleared, the teams will be free to travel.

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How to handle your private health insurance – in one afternoon a year

If you turned 31 this year, you have until 1 July to avoid a fee loading on private health cover, but experts say there’s no need to panic-buy

Private health insurance in Australia is kind of an oxymoron. “Every Australian already has health insurance: Medicare,” says Uta Mihm of consumer advocacy group Choice.

So why does it exist here at all? Well, that’s the million dollar question. Firstly, it’s important to note that “health insurance” in Australia actually refers to two different types of cover: private hospital cover and extras cover. The former will pay for you to receive treatment in private hospitals, where you’ll stay in comfortable rooms and get shorter wait times for elective surgery. Extras cover is meant to reduce the cost of things like dental, optical and massage.

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