On the 30th anniversary of Australia’s world-class universal healthcare system, Federal Member for Ballarat and Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King, today launched a local petition to defend Medicare.
“When Bob Hawke introduced Medicare 30 years ago he created a fair and affordable Commonwealth funded health insurance scheme that provides health cover to all Australians,” Ms King said.
“Mr Hawke warned that without it, two million Australians ‘faced potential financial ruin in the event of major illness’.
“Today more than 39% of Australia’s population is under 30 – that’s more than eight and a half million Australians who are growing up without knowing what healthcare in Australia looks like without Medicare.
“However, the majority of Australians will still remember that it hasn’t always been this way. It took more than one Labor government to cement Medicare as the institution we access today.
“As we are celebrating the Medicare’s 30th birthday the Abbott Government’s ‘commission of cuts’ has plans to crash the party with a new ‘GP tax’ that will target local families when they see a doctor.
“Families shouldn’t have to pay the Prime Minister a new tax when their child is sick and those who are chronically ill shouldn’t avoid a consultation because the Government wants to create a disincentive for seeing a doctor.
“The Abbott Government has already hit Australians hard with the biggest increase to private health insurance premiums in a decade.
“Once they introduce a tax on every GP visit, the Abbott Government will open the floodgate to annual increases to GP fees, making it tougher for families already struggling with the cost of living.
“Labor strengthened Medicare when most recently in government by introducing policies that increased bulk billing rates to their highest level ever.
“Today I am launching a local campaign to save Medicare to ensure that future generations of local families can get the healthcare they need, not the healthcare they can afford.
“Labor believes Medicare is worth defending, we created it, and Labor will keep fighting to protect it.”
To sign the Ballarat petition to save Medicare go to http://chn.ge/1fTGsF8 or visit Ms King’s office at 5 Lydiard St North, Ballarat, Ph: 5338 8123.