Malcolm Turnbull’s health cuts will rip up to $1.4 billion out of Australians’ pockets every year – and that’s just for increased costs for medicines and visits to the doctor.
Malcolm Turnbull has implemented a GP Tax by stealth and hiked out-of-pocket costs for medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
The collective impact of these cuts could leave Australians paying up to $1.4 billion extra – or force them to put off visiting the doctor and purchasing essential medicine.
The Australian Medical Association has said that Mr Turnbull’s GP Tax by stealth will see a likely co-payment of $25 as practices abandon bulk-billing:
“GPs are telling us that they are at breaking point and many say they will have to begin charging patients up to $25 a visit if their practices are to remain viable.” [AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, 28 JUNE 2016]
On top of this, the Liberals’ cuts to medicines will see general patients pay $5 more for each prescription, and even concession card holders will have to pay 80 cents more per script.
With almost 46 million non-concession bulk-billed doctor’s visits, 192 million concession scripts and 18 million general scripts administered last year, Australians face a $1.4 billion hit under Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts.
And if GPs are forced to cut bulk billing for concession card holders, then the cuts will be far, far worse.
According to the Royal Australian College of GPs, 14.5 million Australians will have to pay more to see the doctor.
Make no mistake – this plan is privatisation by any other name.
As the former Secretary of the Department of Health, the Grattan Institute’s Stephen Duckett, has said:
“Privatisation is increasing the proportion of private payment in the health system.” [DR STEPHEN DUCKETT, GRATTAN INSTITUTE, 21 JUNE 2016]
The Liberals have made no secret they want us to pay more for our health care, and that they want “price signals” to become a feature of our health system.
Malcolm Turnbull is sending Australia down the pathway to an American-style health care system.
Shifting the costs of health care onto individuals means the costs of health care go up overall, but health is generally worse because access to care is reduced.
America spends almost double what we do on health as a proportion of GDP, but we have better health and longer life expectancy.
In the US 49 per cent of health expenditure is covered by the Government, compared to 68 per cent in Australia. The average out of pocket cost per household in America is higher, 37 per cent of Americans defer care because of cost and life expectancy is more than three years lower than in Australia.
Labor will ensure medicines are more affordable and that people aren’t priced out of seeing a GP.
Labor will fight Malcolm Turnbull’s dismantling of Medicare every step of the way.