BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS & ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
LABOR WILL END MORRISON’S MEDICARE FREEZE IN FIRST 50 DAYS
A Shorten Labor Government will end Scott Morrison’s Medicare freeze in our first 50 days of government.
Labor will end the freeze on Medicare rebate indexation on 1 July 2019, one year before it is due to end. It will be one of the first acts of a Shorten Labor Government.
That means the Medicare rebates for 100 GP items – including family counselling, urgent after-hours care, mental health care and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island health checks – will start going up again.
Labor will invest an extra $213 million in Medicare to end the Liberals’ six-year rebate freeze a year early and make health care more affordable for all Australians.
We will pay for it by making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.
When everything is going up except people’s wages, the soaring out-of-pocket cost of visiting the doctor is putting too much pressure on family budgets.
Under the Liberals, out-of-pocket costs to visit a GP are up 25 per cent, and out-of-pocket costs to visit a specialist are up 40 per cent.
Labor is putting protecting Medicare ahead of handouts to multinationals.
By contrast, if the Liberals are re-elected in May, the cost of going to see the doctor for 100 GP services will get even more expensive. And if the Liberals get another chance, we know they’ll cut Medicare again. The Liberals can never be trusted with Medicare.
As Treasurer, Scott Morrison cut billions of dollars out of Medicare while trying to give an $80 billion tax handout to big business.
As a result of Morrison’s Liberal cuts, Australians are now paying more than ever before to see a GP or a specialist. A staggering 1.3 million people are now delaying or skipping basic health care because they cannot afford it.
Ten years ago, Australians paid an average out-of-pocket fee of $21 to see a GP. If that cost had increased in line with inflation, it would be around $26 today. Instead, it’s up to $36.47.
Out-of-pocket fees to see specialists have soared even higher, up to more than $80.
As Treasurer and Prime Minister, Scott Morrison had the choice to stop his cuts to Medicare by lifting the rebate freeze. But he chose not to. In fact, as Treasurer he extended it for another two years – cutting another $925 million from Medicare.
Whether it’s cutting Medicare, cutting public hospital funding or putting health insurance profits before patients, Scott Morrison can never be trusted on health.
Labor believes access to health care should depend on your Medicare card, not your credit card.
That’s why Labor will invest in more beds, doctors and nurses with our Better Hospitals Fund, deliver new Medicare MRI licences, cap private health insurance premiums for two years, and end Morrison’s Medicare freeze.
Labor will have even more to say about our plans to invest in Medicare and primary care before the election.
Labor created Medicare and we will always protect and strengthen it.
Bill Shorten and Labor will deliver a fair go for all Australians, not just the top end of town.
MONDAY, 25 MARCH 2019