Richard Scotton

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Richard "Dick" Bailey Scotton AO is an Australian health economist. He is best known as the original author of the Australian Medicare program - Australia's first and current system of publicly funded universal health care.

Scotton was educated at the University of Sydney where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Economics.


Between 1965 and 1970, Scotton worked with John Deeble to formulate a universal health care system for Australia. At that time, Australia was coming to the end of more than two decades of conservative government by the Liberal-National Coalition under Prime Ministers Robert Menzies, Harold Holt John Gorton and William McMahon. The Liberal and National parties opposed such a system, and so the plan was initially rejected. However, the Government's attitude changed in 1972 with the election of the reformist Whitlam Labor Government, who had campaigned promising to implement free universal health care in Australia for the first time. Scotton then entered the public service to implement his Medicare (known at the time as Medibank) program as chairman of the Health Insurance Commission (1973–1976). He worked closely with Social Security Minister Bill Hayden as a Special Advisor for several years.[1]

Academic career[edit]

He spent part of his career at the University of Melbourne. Scotton then held senior administrative positions in the Health Commission of Victoria and the Victorian Accident Compensation Commission. He then returned to academia as a Professorial Fellow in health economics at Monash University's Centre for Health Program Evaluation.[2] In 2000, Scotton retired from full-time work.[3]