Health Minister Sussan Ley has finally confirmed what her predecessor steadfastly refused to admit – the Abbott Government has slashed funding for public hospitals.
“From 1 July 2014 the funding guarantees of the National Health Reform Agreement have been removed and new indexation arrangements for Commonwealth funding will come into effect.”
Sussan Ley, Question Time, 18 March 2015
The scrapping of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Agreement cut more than $50 billion from hospitals around Australia.
This is despite the Prime Minister infamously promising before the election “no cuts to health”.
As NSW Premier Mike Baird said last month in an interview with the Conversation’s Michele Grattan:
“What happened last federal budget is not sustainable. That was, the commonwealth and the federal government said, ‘We are going to allocate a large part of the future growth in health costs from ourselves to the state governments.’”
In Conversation with Mike Baird, 27 February 2015
At the same time, Minister Ley has again exposed her complete lack of understanding about her own portfolio.
In a repeat of her embarrassing dissembling on the GP Tax in the last session of Parliament, Minister Ley today claimed Labor’s Health and Hospital Reform Agreement had been scrapped because it funded ”inefficiency”.
Contrary to the Minister’s claim Labor’s reforms, agreed to by every state and territory, Labor and Liberal, ended decades of cost shifting and instead rewarded efficient hospital based activity.
With a stroke of the pen, the Abbott Government abandoned nearly six years of work on these reforms, and instead slashed hospital funding and reinstated cost shifting.
Labor welcomes Minister Ley’s long overdue acknowledgment that her Government has slashed more than $50 billion from public hospitals and encourage her to now also come clean on the benefits of activity based funding and efficient pricing.