Malcolm Turnbull’s most senior health bureaucrat has confirmed this morning the extensive and damaging Medicare cuts Malcolm Turnbull took to the election all remain Government policy
Despite the Prime Minister claiming he had “learnt his lesson” on Medicare, Health Secretary Martin Bowles repeatedly confirmed at Senate Estimates that each and every cut is still in place.
SENATOR HELEN POLLEY: Is the Turnbull Government still committed to keeping the Medicare freeze in place until 2020?
HEALTH SECRETARY MARTIN BOWLES: Yes that’s current Government policy, yes Senator.
POLLEY: Is the Turnbull Government still committed to abolishing bulk billing incentives for pathology?
BOWLES: That’s still the Government’s policy Senator.
POLLEY: Is the Turnbull Government still committed to cutting bulk billing incentives for diagnostic imaging?
BOWLES: That is a policy that’s still before the Senate, and Government policy at this stage Senator.
POLLEY: We’re going well. Is the Turnbull Government still committed to increasing co-payments for the PBS medicines by $5 for general patients and 80 cents for concessional patients?
BOWLES: That is a measure before the Senate and it is still policy until alternate savings have been found Senator.
POLLEY: Thank you. Is the Turnbull Government still committed to increasing the PBS safety net thresholds, so that patients spend more out-of-pocket before reaching the safety net?
BOWLES: I think you’re talking about the MBS safety net ones, that’s before the Senate, same issue Senator.
POLLEY: Same issues. Is the Turnbull Government still committed to cutting the Medicare Safety Nets?
BOWLES: Same issue, it’s a measure before the Senate.[SENATE COMMUNITY AFFAIRS LEGISLATION COMMITTEE – 19 OCTOBER 2016]
This morning is further proof that the Prime Minister’s promise to learn his lesson is worth as much as the former Prime Minister’s promise of ‘no cuts to health’.
WEDNESDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2016