Health Minister Sussan Ley has today signaled a new Abbott Government assault on universal health care with a dishonest and misleading attack on Medicare.
Not content with having cut $60 billion from public hospitals and ripping $1.3 billion out of general practice, the Minister had today made clear more cuts are on the way, and patients will suffer.
Earlier this year the Minister confirmed she would be ripping another $1.3 billion out of health to pay for the scrapping of her $5 hike in prescriptions and $10 million to overturn its petty and heartless decision to cut the grant for IEM patients.
I am applying the principle that a saving doesn’t come off the table unless an alternative saving goes on.
Health Minister Sussan Ley statement, 22 May 2015
The Minister has also made clear she wants to end universal access to health care.
“those who can afford to pay, should probably pay a little bit more.”
Sussan Ley, Melbourne, 29 January 2015
Just weeks after it was introduced Tony Abbott’s freeze on Medicare rebates for GPs is already wreaking havoc on patients, with doctors forced to raise fees, cut bulk billing, and in at least one case, shut their practice.
At the same time, public hospitals are reporting near record numbers of patients, as people increasingly seek to dodge the Abbott Government’s new GP Tax by swamping Emergency Departments.
Now the Minister is using alarmist language to deliberately inflate Medicare statistics, to justify even more extreme cuts on our health system.
The Minister’s claim of “taxpayers billed an average of 17 times per patient” is a deliberately misleading figure which hides the fact that a single visit to the doctor can produce multiple Medicare items as patients are referred to pathology or diagnostic imaging for further tests.
Recent research shows in fact that Australians only visit a GP around seven times per year, and even this figure is inflated by the small number of chronically ill patients who require intensive care.
Today’s bizarre and alarmist statement confirms Tony Abbott may have changed his Health Minister, but he hasn’t changed his GP Tax or his determination to end bulk billing and destroy Medicare and new and even more damaging cuts to health care are on the way.
Labor believes Australians should get the health care they need, not just what they can afford.
Only Labor will protect Medicare.
Labor built Medicare we won’t let Tony Abbott destroy it.
Only Labor will protect ordinary Australian families from Tony Abbott’s attempt to wreck Medicare and push up health costs for people already under financial pressure.