Health Minister Sussan Ley has confirmed the Abbott/Turnbull Government’s health policy has collapsed after publicly attacking her own government’s stand on private health insurance.
In a bizarre release the minister today denounced the means testing of the Private Health Insurance Rebate which her own Government pledged to scrap, but has now retained and is budgeting to continue for at least the next four years.
Earlier this year the Minister also attacked the proposed $5 hike in prescription drugs included in her first Health Budget, and the four year freeze on Medicare rebates that she introduced as one of her first acts as Minister.
In a stunning about face the Minister has also blown apart her Government’s entire justification for its GP Tax and public hospital cuts by admitting its claims health spending was unsustainable were a lie.
In a welcome admission after two years of lies and deliberate scaremongering about Australia’s health spending, the Minister has today declared that Commonwealth health spending is in fact falling and is now the “lowest in over a decade”.
After two years of chaos, confusion and failure on health, the Minister now needs to come clean with the Australian public.
- Given the Minister’s attack on her own Government’s means testing of private health insurance, when will she scrap this, and how will she pay for it?
- Given the Minister’s admission she has no hope of getting her $5 hike in prescription through the Parliament, when will she abandon this and how will she pay for it?
- Given the Minister’s attack on her own freeze on the Medicare rebate, when will she abandon this, and where will she find the $2 billion to pay for it?
Because this Government does not believe in investing in health, the only way the Minister can achieve any of these policies is by making even bigger cuts to other areas of the health portfolio.
The Minister herself admitted this earlier in the year when she said:
A saving doesn’t come off the table unless an alternative saving goes on.
Health Minister Sussan Ley statement, 22 May 2015
This means, having already cut over $60 billion from health last year the Minister either has to continue with all of these policies or find new areas of health to cut.
More cuts to hospitals? More cuts to general practice? More cuts to drug and alcohol programs?
The Minister must either publicly admit she is powerless to achieve any of the changes she has flagged, or immediately come clean on what further health cuts she now has in her sights to pay for these changes.
After two years of chaos, confusion and cuts, Australians deserve a Government, and Health Minister committed to Medicare, and not one which only ever sees health as a source of cuts to prop up the Government’s budget failures.