Bill's Media Releases

LABOR WILL ALWAYS FIGHT FOR MEDICARE

Labor will ensure that access to health care is determined by your Medicare card, and not your credit card, and will reverse the Turnbull Government’s GP Tax by stealth.

Nobody wants to head down the same path as America when it comes to our health system.

That’s why a Shorten Labor Government will restore indexation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule from 1 January 2017.

This will apply to all services provided by GPs, allied health and other health practitioners and medical specialists.

We will reverse Mr Turnbull’s cuts which will reduce bulk billing and hit Australian families every time they visit the doctor.

Labor created Medicare and Labor will always protect Medicare.

Having failed three times to introduce its GP Tax – due to Labor’s opposition in the Senate – the Liberals imposed a GP Tax by stealth, freezing the indexation of the rebates paid to doctors for four years.

Then in his first Budget, Malcolm Turnbull ripped another $925 million out of Medicare by extending the freeze by a further two years to 2020.

All Australians should be able to access health care when and where they need it. That’s what drives Labor’s health policy.

In contrast, Medicare is under attack from Mr Turnbull and the Liberals. They have made no secret they want us all to pay more to see the doctor and the indexation freeze will ensure this happens.

Mr Turnbull’s only plans for Medicare are to cut bulk billing and to privatise it.

Doctors have confirmed the extension of the GP Tax by stealth in Mr Turnbull’s Budget will be the tipping point to make bulk billing unviable for many practices. Existing co-payments will be increased.

Everyone will pay more and the sickest, the poorest and those in rural areas will be hit hardest.

President of the Australian Medical Association, Professor Brian Owler estimates that this will likely cost patients up to $20 more for each GP visit.

One in 20 Australians already say they delay visiting their GP, or do not visit at all, because of cost.

This can lead to conditions deteriorating and people being admitted to hospital – meaning worse outcomes for the patient and greater cost to the health system. It is vital we don’t create barriers for anyone who needs to see their GP.

The Liberals’ assault on Medicare and universal healthcare must stop.

All Australians should be able to access health care when and where they need it. Only Labor can be trusted to make this happen.

Labor’s policy has been costed independently by the Parliamentary Budget Office and will have an impact of $2.4 billion over the forward estimates (to 2019-20), and $12.2 billion over the decade to 2026-27.

Labor will fund this policy through announced improvements to the Budget, including not proceeding with the new baby bonus, capping VET FEE HELP loans, and not proceeding with the tax cut for multinational companies.

For more information on Labor’s plan to protect Medicare please visit: http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/a_stronger_medicare_for_all_australians_fact_sheet

THURSDAY, 19 MAY 2016


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