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Dr Stuart Peacock ; Ms Leonie Segal
Health service funding mechanisms are pivotal in the pursuit of health system objectives, as they provide strong financial incentives for actors in the system to achieve policy goals. Underpinning funding mechanisms is a set of key economic principles, or objectives, that should guide their design and use: efficiency, equity, and accountability. The Australian health system has historically performed relatively poorly in relation to these objectives, with evidence of inefficiencies, inequities, and poor accountability in many areas of health services. The primary cause of these shortcomings may lie in the complex set of funding and delivery arrangements at the State and Federal levels of government. Potentially significant improvements in the performance of the health system would be available from the integration of the funding of services within a single tier of government, coupled with the development of a national weighted capitation approach to funding.