15 May, 2013
It is going to cost more to visit the GP and other health professionals following another shambolic Budget by Treasurer Wayne Swan.
Mr Swan has cut over $1.8 billion from Medicare rebates, the Extended Medicare Safety Net and the Net Medical Expenses Tax Offset, while incredibly still managing to deliver more debt, deficits and taxes.
Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton said Mr Swan’s cuts, that follow years of waste and mismanagement across all areas of Government, will hit the sickest and most vulnerable the hardest.
There will be no increase to Medicare rebates between November 2012 and July 2014, despite continued growth in the cost of delivering healthcare. This means the costs are likely to be passed on to patients directly, particularly in general practice where there is a high volume of pensioners and concession card holders.
“Labor’s cuts will force up out of pocket costs for families already struggling with cost of living pressures,” Mr Dutton said.
“They follow Labor’s previous attacks that have forced up the cost of private health insurance and cut Medicare funding for dental services.
“Mr Swan’s incompetence in balancing the Budget is hurting ordinary, hardworking Australians, who are now struggling to pay rapidly escalating health bills.
“Labor can’t afford to index Medicare rebates this year, but they have conveniently managed to scrape together millions of dollars for another health advertising campaign in the lead up to the election,” Mr Dutton said.
The Budget contains $10 million for an advertising campaign, with 65 percent of the funding to be rushed out this financial year, prior to the September election.
“This is a Government that has failed to deliver on key promises in health, has forced up the cost of healthcare for millions of Australians and has diverted much needed resources to building bureaucracy.
“The Coalition will restore good economic management so that sensible investments can be made in frontline health services that actually benefit patients,” Mr Dutton said.
Media contact: Tom Fleming 0437 250 045