Major changes to Australia's health system would be led by a new, independent expert commission under a federal Labor government, making reforms harder to unpick.
The powerful Australian Health Reform Commission would develop and oversee long-term reforms, with the overarching aim of ensuring every Australian can access affordable, high-quality health care.
Such an authority is needed to prevent structural reforms being undermined by the election cycle, says Catherine King, who would be health minister under a Labor government.
"Labor is determined to break the cycle of short-termism that all too often afflicts policymaking in this country," she told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.
"It's the right thing to do, in the long-term interests of our country."
Australia's health care system is one of the best in the world but still faces serious challenges including an ageing population with rising rates of chronic disease, she noted.
There are also growing barriers to accessing care - including high costs, long wait times and workforce shortages - while disadvantaged Australians also continue to face worse health outcomes.
Ms King said these challenges have been known for years but reform has been repeatedly undermined by the coalition dissembling policies Labor brought in.
Health funding debates between the federal government and state governments also get in the way of big changes.
The federal health department can't lead major changes because it only covers one jurisdiction and is too busy maintaining current services, she said.
But part of its funding would go towards the Australian Health Reform Commission - meaning the new body won't require additional costs - with commissioners appointed for at least five years, giving them time to develop "durable policy solutions".
Despite framing the commission as a way to protect Labor reforms, Ms King is confident it can gain backing from all sides of politics, similar to the federal government's independent economic adviser, the Productivity Commission.
Key to that would be making all of the commission's advice public and shared with all Australian health ministers.
The commission's priorities would be directed by all jurisdictions via the Council of Australian Governments.
But among its first ports of call would be reforming community health care to cater to the ageing population and rising chronic disease burden and improving access to public hospital specialists.
The authority would also publicly report on how well governments are delivering long-term reforms.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the proposal would "create a bureaucratic roadblock" while long-term reforms are ongoing.
"Under our long-term national health plan we will continue to deliver record funding for Medicare, public hospitals, mental health, medical research and also providing access to all medicines recommended by the experts," he told AAP.
Australian Associated Press