Labor will move to protect patients from Malcolm Turnbull’s plans to rip $270 million from the Medicare Safety Net.
While Labor would support sensible reform to simplify and improve the Medicare Safety Net, we are concerned this is money being taken from patients and once again, not being put back directly into care for disadvantaged communities.
Labor is particularly concerned about the impact of the changes on patients requiring ongoing access to psychiatric services, with psychiatrists and psychotherapists warning that “The outcome of these changes will severely compromise access to appropriate treatment for a particularly vulnerable group of patients with serious mental illnesses, including sexual abuse victims who are currently the subject of a Royal Commission. These changes, if put into place, will lead to an increase in the incidence of suicide among this patient group.”
LETTER TO THE SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH – 10 AUGUST 2015
Radiation oncologists have warned the proposed changes could double out of pocket expenses for cancer patients while IVF clinics have warned some women could be forced to give up their chance of having a child, or opt for riskier multiple embryo implants.
The Medicare Safety Net was introduced in recognition that some patients need greater access to medical services, especially vulnerable groups like those with serious and costly medical issues at different times in their lives.
While Labor is happy to discuss sensible reforms, the Government’s changes could adversely impact some of the most needy and vulnerable patients and we do not support the legislation in its current form.