9 February 2012
The Hon Peter Dutton MP
Federal Member for Dickson
Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing
Often they are the elderly, the infirm, families on low incomes – yet they scrimp, save and go without for the peace of mind of having private health insurance.
Today Julia Gillard will slap them down as she perpetrates yet another betrayal – this time on the 11 million Australians who pay for private health insurance.
Betrayal is becoming a constant in this Labor Government.
This time it is breaking a promise that it made in writing not to remove the 30 per cent rebates paid on private health insurance policies. (See document)
It will attempt for a third time - with the support of its Greens partners - to impose a means test on the private health insurance rebates.
In doing so Gillard Labor is ignoring the majority will of the Federal Parliament which has twice rejected its proposals and the majority view of Australians – 64 per cent of whom, a survey found, think the money spent on the rebates is a good use of taxpayer funds.
If Gillard prevails, she will phase out the rebate for 2.4 million people.
The result for all of us will be horrendous.
An analysis estimates a million and a half people are likely to quit their insurance. Millions more will downgrade their cover.
And as those people go – those who remain will face higher and higher premiums, setting in train a vicious cycle where private health insurance will become unaffordable for more and more – they will go and premiums will rise again.
Those forced out will rely on an already over-burdened public hospital system meaning longer queues for surgery and longer waiting times in emergency departments. Some estimates forecast the public health sector will have to cope with close to a million extra treatments over the next few years.
Labor seems to think that those with private health insurance are wealthy, high income earners. WRONG. Half the 11 million privately insurance Australians have household incomes of less than $50,000. Three and a half million have an annual income of less than $35,000.
Household bills are rising rapidly. This will only add to the strain. Under Gillard Labor, everyone it seems has to suffer.