Labor Will Always Fight For Medicare

Labor will ensure that access to health care is determined by your Medicare card, and not your credit card, and will reverse the Turnbull Government’s GP Tax by stealth.

A Shorten Labor Government will restore indexation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule from 1 January 2017.

This will apply to all services provided by GPs, allied health and other health practitioners and medical specialists.

Labor will reverse Mr Turnbull’s cuts which will reduce bulk billing and hit Australian families every time they visit the doctor.

Having failed three times to introduce its GP Tax – due to Labor’s opposition in the Senate – the Liberals imposed a GP Tax by stealth, freezing the indexation of the rebates paid to doctors for four years.

Then in his first Budget, Malcolm Turnbull ripped another $925 million out of Medicare by extending the freeze by a further two years to 2020.

Stephen Jones said “Nobody wants to head down the same path as America when it comes to our health system.”

“All Australians should be able to access health care when and where they need it. That’s what drives Labor’s health policy.”

When meeting with local doctors of the last few weeks, they’ve told me that even talk of a GP Tax has led to a drop off of people visiting their doctor. Labor’s plan will create certainty and lead to better health care for locals”

Mr Turnbull’s only plans for Medicare are to cut bulk billing and to privatise it.

Sharon Bird said “Labor created Medicare and Labor will always protect Medicare.”

“One in 20 Australians already say they delay visiting their GP, or do not visit at all, because of cost”.

Doctors have confirmed the extension of the GP Tax by stealth in Mr Turnbull’s Budget will be the tipping point to make bulk billing unviable for many practices. Existing co-payments will be increased.

Fiona Phillips said “Medicare is under attack from Mr Turnbull and the Liberals. They have made no secret they want us all to pay more to see the doctor and the indexation freeze will ensure this happens.”

“Under the Liberals everyone will pay more and the sickest, the poorest and those in rural areas will be hit hardest.”

President of the Australian Medical Association, Professor Brian Owler estimates that this will likely cost patients up to $20 more for each GP visit.

This can lead to conditions deteriorating and people being admitted to hospital – meaning worse outcomes for the patient and greater cost to the health system. It is vital we don’t create barriers for anyone who needs to see their GP.

For more information on Labor’s plan to protect Medicare please visit: http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/a_stronger_medicare_for_all_australians_fact_sheet

THURSDAY, 19 MAY 2016

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