25 February 2011 Health Minister Nicola Roxon today added to rising cost of living pressures for families by hiking private health insurance premiums and failing to clarify the extent of the Government’s planned cuts to the private health insurance rebates.
Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton warned that the uncertainty caused by the Gillard Governments attacks on private health insurance will continue to put upward pressure on premiums.
“The Gillard Government and their minority government partners the Greens are determined to cut private health insurance rebates and it is clear they have no concern for the impact on the 11 million Australians with private cover,” Mr Dutton said.
“The uncertainty about the extent of the cuts is a major concern for Australian families and very destabilising for the sector, putting unnecessary pressure on premiums.
“It is important that we continue to have a sustainable private sector to ease pressure on the public hospital system.
“Senator Bob Brown is the most powerful person in this Government and it is a great concern for 11 million Australians with private health cover that the Greens have a clear position to abolish the rebates entirely.
“Just as Julia Gillard promised there would be no carbon tax, Nicola Roxon also promised ‘Federal Labor has made it crystal clear that we are committed to retaining all of the existing Private Health Insurance rebates’. A promise she has already broken.
“Come July it won’t be a surprise for Senator Brown to hold a press conference with Nicola Roxon to announce the Government’s total abandonment of Australians with private health insurance.
“Over one million Australians earning under $26,000 per annum have private health insurance and without assistance from the rebates and affordable premiums, they will lose that choice.
“Even the Gillard Government’s original planned cuts would lead to people dropping and downgrading cover, forcing up premiums and putting greater pressure on our public system,” Mr Dutton said.