Yet again, Malcolm Turnbull’s words on Medicare don’t match his deeds.
Labor supports the aims of the Health Care Homes trial, which is not a new concept. But the Government cannot credibly promise to “revolutionise” patients’ care while investing no new money, and cutting billions from primary health care via the six year freeze on Medicare rebates.
The Government is asking doctors and other health providers to do more and more with less and less. With Medicare under attack, reform of primary health care is – unfortunately – doomed to fail.
Doctors and other stakeholders share Labor’s scepticism about today’s announcement.
Australian Medical Association President Michael Gannon said:
“The reality is that GPs cannot afford to deliver enhanced care to patients with no extra support. There is no new funding for the Health Care Homes trial … If the Health Care Homes funding model is not right, GPs will not engage with the trial, and the model will struggle to succeed.”
And the CEO of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, Alison Verhoeven said:
“the stated objectives cannot be achieved with inadequate funding and the investment proposed for this trial looks set to fall substantially short of requirements”.
In contrast, Labor’s election platform included a serious investment in primary health care reform. Labor committed $100 million to develop and roll out new models of primary care, including a unique Australian model of patient-centred medical homes. Labor’s plan is available at http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/strengthening_medicare_new_models_of_care.
Malcolm Turnbull’s bold promises stand in stark contrast to his actual policies. The Prime Minister said he had learned the lessons of the election – but two months later, nothing has changed.
Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition remain committed to:
- Their six year freeze on Medicare rebates, which is already driving bulk billing down and co-payments up.
- Their cuts to Medicare rebates for pathology and diagnostic imaging, which will force cancer patients and others with serious health conditions to pay more for potentially lifesaving scans and tests.
- Their increases to the cost of prescription medicines, even for concession card holders.
As always in health, look at what Malcolm Turnbull does, not what he says.
WEDNESDAY, 24 AUGUST 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: ANDREW GARRETT – 0412 300 994