Whether the rebate has eased pressure on the public system has been contested, as this recent Parliamentary Library Flagpost notes. The Flagpost observes that if the rebate had been effective in reducing pressure on public hospitals, it would follow that the use of public hospitals would have declined while use of private hospitals would have increased, as people switched from the public to the private sector. Private hospital utilisation rates have indeed increased significantly since the introduction of the rebate. But a decline in public hospital use has not occurred. Utilisation of public hospitals has also increased along with a lengthening of waiting times for elective surgery.
When the private health insurance rebate was first introduced, it was argued that it would ease pressure on the public system. This has not occurred; demand for public hospital services has continued to grow and waiting times in public hospitals have lengthened.