Labor is deeply concerned at reports patients are suffering as a result of ongoing disputes between health insurers and hospitals.
As I have said from day one, decisions regarding quality and safety in health care need to be consistent across the country and should be overseen by the independent Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
Whilst everyone in the health sector should be focussing on hospital reform that improves the rate of preventable readmissions, the approach of simply punishing hospitals and patients will not work. It simply removes money from its contracted hospitals without providing any alternative or incentive funding to build capacity to assist with reform.
This sort of use of market power is precisely what Labor warned of when the Abbott/Turnbull Government made the decision to sell Medibank.
The Government failed to make the case for the sale and there is no evidence it has provided any benefit to either the health system or health insurance policyholders.
This dispute also follows the decision by the Abbott/Turnbull Government to approve the two largest increases to private health insurance premiums in a decade.
The Abbott/Turnbull Government’s lack of leadership on this issue is consistent with the utter disregard it has shown the health portfolio since it came to office.