J&J exec to lead private health funds

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One of the life science sectors most senior and experienced public affairs executives has been appointed the new CEO of Private Healthcare Australia, the representative organisation of Australia's private health funds.

The association was formerly known as the Australian Health Insurance Association.

Dr Rachel David will join the association in January, succeeding Dr Michael Armitage, having most recently worked with Johnson & Johnson as Director of its Australian government relations and market access team.

Having originally joined industry from a senior position with former health minister Dr Michael Wooldridge, Dr David has driven some of the sector's most significant and high profile public affairs campaigns, including the PBS listing of the first biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug, ENBREL (etanercept), and CSL's cervical cancer vaccine, GARDASIL.

She was also founding practice manager of the healthcare and Australian government sector practice at McKinsey & Company.

Dr David joins the association at a challenging time, with the Government reviewing private health insurance and speculation over the future of the Private Health Insurance Rebate.

News Limited recently reported that the recent Council Of Australian Governments meeting considered an option under which the Rebate would be scrapped in return for direct payments to hospitals regardless of whether people are treated as private or public patients.