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In what is fast becoming one of the rituals of Australian health debate, new quarterly data on private health insurance was published yesterday by the regulator, APRA.

Now the private health insurance industry and its allies, bemoaning how people don't want its product, are demanding incentives and punishments to encourage people to purchase it.

A net total of more than 28,000 people abandoned private health insurance (PHI) in the June quarter. More than 90,000 dumped their hospital coverage in the year to June, and another 16,000 dumped their general coverage. The pandemic has only continued a trend of Australians working out that unless you're a routine user of complex medical services PHI is a scam.