The Prime Minister has again been caught out with new documents indicating the Government is pressing ahead with its plan to privatise the Medicare payments system.
A Freedom of Information request by The Australian has revealed the Turnbull Government is paying PricewaterhouseCoopers $5 million for a Medicare payments system project but is refusing to release details of the contract.
Alarmingly, the FOI request was rejected on the grounds that the document “includes preliminary thinking which are yet to be considered by Government”.
This indicates that the Medicare Privatisation plan remains on the table, despite promises during the election campaign that it had been blocked.
This follows the blocking of another Freedom of Information request by The Australian on plans to privatise the Health Service and Age Care Payments system on the grounds that the document sought “contains Cabinet-related material”.
“The department has advised that the document contains information the disclosure of which would reveal a Cabinet deliberation or decision”.
This directly contradicted the Prime Minister’s claim during the election campaign the Medicare privatisation plan had never been discussed by Cabinet.
“Some work has been done by the department so I gather but it has never been a decision of the government to outsource any part of Medicare services. It’s never come to the cabinet to be considered to outsource any part of Medicare services.”
Malcolm Turnbull, 20 June 2016
The two FOI rulings confirm Malcolm Turnbull lied to voters when he told them that the plan to privatise the Medicare payments system had never come before Cabinet and that the plan had been abandoned.
It confirms Malcolm Turnbull’s promise to “never, ever” privatise Medicare is as believable as Tony Abbott’s promise of “no cuts to health”.
Don’t look at what the Liberals say – look at what they are doing.
In their first term in office the Liberals:
- Froze Medicare benefits for six years to drive down bulk billing and make patients pay more.
- Cut bulk billing payments for pathology and diagnostic imaging to make patients pay more.
- Announced cuts to the Medicare Safety Net to make patients pay more.
- Hiked the cost of prescriptions to make patients pay more.
Nothing, absolutely nothing this Government says on health can be believed.
At every opportunity, every budget, they have cut health and sought to destroy Medicare and make patients pay more.
Only Labor believes access to healthcare should depend on your Medicare card, not your credit card.
Labor introduced Medicare and we will always protect it.