Opinion polls suggest health is one of the top three issues for voters but it has barely gained a mention in this election campaign.
After making health one of the key issues of the 2007 election with his promise to fix the public hospital system, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been silent on the issue this time round.
Health, however, is one of the areas where voters generally mark the ALP higher than the Coalition.
For its part the Coalition is trying to present as small a target as possible, criticising Labor policies but offering only "incremental" changes, "aspirations" and "reviews" in their place.
The lack of focus on health can not be blamed on any shortage of important issues. Health is one of the biggest spending areas for the federal government - $64.6 billion in the 2013 budget - and how that money gets spent provides plenty of scope for debate between the parties.
In the Illawarra, perhaps the biggest issue a future government will have to tackle is the rapidly ageing population, which will affect just about every area of health.
The recent report by Illawarra-Shoalhaven Medicare Local, Population Health Profile: 2013, revealed the number of over-65s in the region would grow 40 per cent, and the number of over-85s by 50 per cent, by 2021.
The report's lead author Abhijeet Ghosh said the challenges would be the same whoever ended up in government.
"Irrespective of who is in power, the findings we have recently released and other research we are doing all point towards the same sort of themes," Mr Ghosh said.
The report showed the Illawarra fared poorly on a number of health indicators, with high levels of obesity, stress and chronic disease, while having a lower ratio of GPs, nurses and other health workers than the Australian average.
"Aged care, chronic disease, mental health are pretty much the biggest burdens on our hospital and primary healthcare systems so a bit more focus on that would be very helpful," Mr Ghosh said.
"Chronic disease is becoming epidemic for the entire Australian population - that's not specific to the Illawarra-Shoalhaven, but we do have a higher prevalence rate of chronic disease burden."
His advice to any future government would be to "upstream" the health dollar.
"I'm not saying hospital structure and tertiary care should be forgotten, but they should start looking at preventative initiatives that stop the chronic disease burden burgeoning," Mr Ghosh said.
TODAY'S QUESTION: People in the Illawarra have more health problems than the average Australian but less access to doctors - how would you fix this?