In a speech littered with buzz words, but no vision, the Minister’s only announcements were yet another delay to the roll out of eHealth and yet another review to add to the tottering pile on her desk.
The latest review, into private health insurance, comes with the ominous warning from the Minister that “everything is going to be on the table”.
The Minister’s announcement of eHealth trial sites in early 2016 is confirmation that the two years of delays in advancing this crucial health initiative are now set to extend into another year.
The Abbott/Turnbull Governments’ record on eHealth is truly dismal.
Until this point, this government has done nothing for two years in eHealth except commission a review, then cut $215 million from the program in this year’s Budget.
After sitting on that review for 500 days, the minister finally announced the government’s response in May this year, and then waited another 5 months before today announcing a further delay into next year.
Missing from the Minister’s speech was any mention of how public hospitals will be able to cope with her government’s $60 billion in cuts, the damage done to general practice through her four year $2 billion freeze on Medicare rebates, and her legislation before parliament to hike the cost of prescriptions.
Bizarrely, the Minister bemoaned the increasing costs of “treatments and cures” “which could have and should have been avoided with better preventative health” while making no mention of the hundreds of millions of dollars her government has cut from preventive health.
After two years of chaos, confusion and cuts, Australians deserve a government, and health minister committed to Medicare, and not one who only ever sees health as a source of cuts to prop up the government’s budget failures.