p>Some four months after it was promised in the Budget papers, the establishment of the Prostheses List Advisory Committee is a welcome step – but the ultimate test will be if consumers can see an end to the massive private health insurance premium hikes which have occurred under the Abbott/Turnbull Government.
Some four months after it was promised in the Budget papers, the establishment of the Prostheses List Advisory Committee is a welcome step – but the ultimate test will be if consumers can see an end to the massive private health insurance premium hikes which have occurred under the Abbott/Turnbull Government.
The Government has guaranteed today that patients will get more value for money. Labor will be holding them to account to make sure that this isn’t just another broken health promise – like Tony Abbott’s promise of no cuts to health, or Malcolm Turnbull’s promise that he would learn the lesson of the election on his health cuts.
Family budgets have been hit with about $600 extra in annual premiums under the Abbott/Turnbull Government, after the Liberals approved the two highest increases in a decade in 2014 and 2015, and ticked off a premium hike of 5.59% in 2016.
Every increase under the Liberals has been higher than the average annual increase during Labor’s six years in office.
With reports that spiralling premium rises – three times the inflation rate – could see one in five fund members downgrade or drop their cover, serious action is urgently needed.
Labor hopes that the new Advisory Committee will be a forum where all stakeholders can agree on changes to the Prostheses List. Minister Ley promised changes during the last private health insurance premium round, then failed to deliver.
The Government must also remember that prostheses are only one driver of private health insurance premiums – and that their own cuts are also making health care less affordable.
If the Government is serious about making health care more affordable for all Australians, they must immediately reverse their:
- Six year freeze on Medicare rebates, which will drive bulk billing down and co-payments up;
- Cuts to Medicare bulk billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging, which will force up the cost of vital tests and scans;
- Price hikes to medicines, which will make all Australians pay up to $5 more for vital prescriptions; and
- Cuts to the Medicare Safety Nets, which will expose Australians to greater out-of-pocket costs.
The welcome establishment of this Committee doesn’t hide the fact that the Government is ripping billions out of Medicare and forcing all Australians to pay more for health care.
THURSDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: JOANNE CLEARY 0428 816 751