Mr Turnbull has again smashed Australia’s health system, ripping another $2.1 billion out of health spending and keeping the GP tax in place for another two years – a measure that will cost Australian families $925 million.
Coming on top of the $2.1 billion in health cuts in December’s Mid-Year Review, Malcolm Turnbull has now ripped $4.2 billion from health in just eight months in office.
This is a Budget that:
- Puts big business over battlers.
- Puts high income earners before families
- Undermines Australia’s future.
Mr Turnbull promised fairness, but this Budget delivers tax cuts for the banks and multinationals at the expense of Australian families and Australia’s health system.
In another disastrous night for health, Mr Turnbull’s first Budget has:
- Cut another $182.2 million from the health flexible funds, taking the total cuts to these crucial health programs tackling drug and alcohol abuse, chronic disease, communicable diseases and rural health issues to almost $1 billion
- Abolished the Child Dental Benefits Scheme, ripping a net $1 billion out of Commonwealth Dental spending
- Ripped millions more out of health through cuts to Medicare items.
These are on top of the Mid-Year Budget Review that:
- Cut $650 million out of Medicare by slashing bulk billing incentives for diagnostic imaging and pathology
- Gutted crucial health workforce training programmes by $595 million
- Ripped another $146 million out of health prevention and eHealth
The Budget also continues to pursue two of Tony Abbott’s 2014 Budget measures:
- The $1.3 billion hike in the price of essential medicines by increasing prescription charges by $5 for general patients and $0.80 for Health Care Card Holders
- The $267 million attack on the Medicare Safety Nets
Malcolm Turnbull has proven the Liberals only ever see health as a source of Budget cuts, and will always look to make healthcare less affordable for those who need it most – the sick and the poor.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has warned the extension of the GP Tax out to 2020 will mean “quality of patient care will be compromised” while the AMA has warned the cuts will be yet another hit to household budgets and a barrier to people accessing health care when they need it.
“The poorest, the sickest and the most vulnerable will be the hardest hit.”
AMA President Brian Owler, 3 May 2016
"The continuation of the Medicare freeze is going to send more rural and remote patients to the healthcare equivalent of deepest, darkest Siberia"
RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, 3 May 2016
It confirms, as Health Minister Sussan Ley has made clear, the Government is committed to forcing down bulk billing by making more patients pay to see a doctor.
“there are a lot of people who attend a doctor, who pay nothing who can afford to pay a bit more and that’s where we have to land in this discussion with the medical profession.”
Sussan Ley, 3AW, 3 March 2015
The additional $182 million cut to Health Flexible funds takes total cuts to these funds out to $1 billion, forcing the closure or cut back of services by crucial health programs tackling drug and alcohol abuse, chronic disease, communicable diseases and rural health issues.
The scrapping of the Child Dental Benefits Scheme will deny millions of Australian children, many of whom have never before been able to afford dental treatment, access to ongoing affordable dental care.
The cuts to pathology and diagnostic imaging will mean patients being treated for cancer, and other serious health conditions could be forced to fork out thousands of dollars upfront to pay for vital scans and tests.
The continuing attack on the Medicare Safety Nets will hurt some of Australia’s sickest patients and those with chronic conditions.
The continuing pursuit of the hike in prescription charges will force all Australians, even concession card holders, to pay more for their essential medicines.
The difference between Labor and Liberal could not be starker – we’ll put people first, while the 2016 Budget has shown Mr Turnbull and the Liberal Party will look after high income earners and multinationals.