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The Rudd Labor Government was forced to reveal today that a staggering 1.7 million Australians – 10 per cent of the population - will be slugged with massive hikes in private health insurance costs and taxes in the wake of the Rudd Government’s broken promise on health insurance rebates.

One point six million people face an automatic increase of up to 42 per cent in their private health insurance premiums.

Another 130,000 will face up to a 50 per cent increase in the Medicare Levy surcharge.

The true impacts of Labor’s broken health promises were revealed in the Senate this afternoon when floundering Labor Minister, Senator Joe Ludwig admitted the facts of Labor’s betrayal of voters.

“This is the reality of the Rudd Government’s budget in which promises not to change health insurance rebates were hurled out the window,” Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton said tonight.

“It’s the direct result of the government’s broken promise on rebates,” Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health Administration Senator Mathias Cormann added.

“It doesn’t stop there,” Mr Dutton said. “All Australians with private health insurance will end up paying higher premiums, because the Rudd Government’s slashing of rebates will force people to drop out of insurance and costs will go up.”

“They’ll end up seeking medical treatment in public hospitals,” Senator Cormann said, “and that means longer waiting times for treatment which will impact every Australian.”

“While Rudd Labor tried to hide the truth in the budget by claiming a mere 25,000 people would drop out of private insurance, Senator Ludwig was forced to reveal the ugly truth,” Senator Cormann said.

Six hundred and thirty thousand single people and 490,000 families will receive reduced rebates on their health insurance and immediately face a higher net premium.

“Prime Minister Rudd and Health Minister Nicola Roxon both gave unequivocal promises before the last election that private health insurance rebates were safe under Labor and would not be changed,” Mr Dutton said.

“Eighteen months later they’ve trashed the promises, their word was worthless.”

“The Rudd Government continues to wage its old ideological war on Australians with private health insurance to the detriment of all,” Senator Cormann said.

“Every Australian will now pay a price for the Rudd Government’s reckless spending.”

Media Contacts: Peter Dutton - John Wiseman 0429 983 618
Senator Cormann - Slade Brockman 0427 261 980

Hansard excerpt – The Senate – May 14

Senator LUDWIG (Queensland—Minister for Human Services) (3.07 pm)—In answer to Senator Cormann’s question on how many people will be affected by the changes to private health insurance in the budget, I can provide the following clarifying remark. Around 1.7 million adults or around 10 per cent of the adult population, with income above the surcharge threshold will be affected by the changes. This is made up of around 1.6 million adults—that is, 630,000 singles and 490,000 families—who will receive a reduced rebate and therefore pay a higher net premium. Around 130,000 adults will be liable for an increased surcharge. And even the following reforms to policies supporting private health insurance, based on average premiums affected individuals remain better off as a result of the tax cuts coming into effect in July 2009-10.

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