If the Turnbull Government doesn’t drop every single health cut in full on Budget night – including dropping their entire Medicare freeze in full from July 1 – it will be an insult to Australians and more proof that they can’t be trusted on health.
The Government has one option for their six-year Medicare freeze – drop the entire thing. If the Government thinks a plan to drop only parts of their freeze is good news, they are joking.
The freeze has had a clear impact on access to GPs, with bulk billing for GPs dropping across the country in the six months since the election. But the freeze isn’t just impacting Australians when they visit the doctor, it is it impacting access to specialists and allied health professionals.
In the last financial year alone under Medicare there were:
- More than 30 million specialist attendances
- Almost 2 million obstetrics services
- 3.2 million anaesthetic services
- 11.2 million allied health services
All impacted by Malcolm Turnbull’s freeze.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 40% of Australians needed to see a specialist in the past financial year. That’s around 7.4 million Australians who need to see a specialist each year - such as psychiatrists, oncologists and other life-saving specialists.
And more than 600,000 Australians will delay seeing a specialist at least once because of cost, with those in lower socio-economic areas more likely to delay because of cost. If the freeze is not immediately lifted on specialists consultations and procedures, this will only get worse.
Unfortunately, the freeze is only the beginning. This Government’s horrible health policies have left a trail of destruction which must be dropped on Budget night.
Malcolm Turnbull’s medicines hike, which will see every Australian slugged up to $5 more for vital medicines. Savage cuts to pathology and diagnostic imaging, which will see Australians pay more for vital scans and tests such as pap smears and blood tests. Cuts to Medicare safety nets, which will see out-of-pocket medical expenses soar for many Australians, such as those undergoing IVF treatment. Cuts which have gutted preventive health, including ripping $368 million from the National Partnership Agreement in Preventive Health.
Malcolm Turnbull has shown that he can never be trusted to put health first – he has been fighting to give big business a big tax handout but hasn’t bothered fighting for the health of Australians. His Treasurer has made it clear that he sees Medicare and health as “bad debt”, not an investment in the future of our country.
This Budget he must do what he should have done the day after the election – listen to Australians and drop every single one of these cuts effective 1 July 2017.
MONDAY, 1 MAY 2017