Wednesday 16 May 2012 The Federal Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek today cooked the books on private health insurance take up, to justify a policy of means testing that hasn’t even commenced.
The Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, questioned the honesty of using statistics on private health insurance take-up before Labor’s means testing commences on 1 July 2012.
“This is an embarrassing attempt by Plibersek to justify means testing of private health insurance that hasn’t even commenced,” Mr Dutton said.
Mr Dutton compared the means testing of private health insurance to the carbon tax. He said that both were broken promises and both would get more costly over time for families.
“The Minister keeps cooking the books. Means testing is another broken promise by Labor with the pain yet to come, just like the carbon tax.
Eleven million Australians are facing higher health costs directly and indirectly because of this mean deceptive Government,” Mr Dutton said.
Mr Dutton further questioned the Government’s use of figures.
“Labor is more interested in spin than substance. A very modest increase of 0.6% of the population with private hospital cover over 12 months does not reflect the impact of this broken promise which is yet to commence.”’
Mr Dutton is also concerned about other policy impacts beyond whether people are insured or not. People downgrading to cheaper policies with more out of pocket expenses and difficulties with administration are yet to be experienced. In Senate Estimates the Health Department and the ATO were unable to explain where the administrative burden would fall for reporting of income and how mistakes would be addressed.
“Labor needs to come clean on what will happen when people make a mistake on estimating their income,” Mr Dutton said.