Kevin Rudd’s latest claim that the Coalition will abolish all Medicare Local programs and sack 3,000 frontline health staff is just more hysteria from an increasingly desperate Labor Party. It is totally false.
The claim follows independent analysis that found Mr Rudd's last hysterical suggestion that Tony Abbott had taken money out of public hospitals was also totally false.
Medicare Locals have grown out of Divisions of General Practice which the Coalition supported when in Government.
They are administrative bodies that are supposed to coordinate services and support health professionals who provide the services to patients. The Coalition continues to provide in-principle support for that role, but we want to ensure funding isn’t being chewed up by administrative costs instead of going to patients.
Labor’s health bureaucracy has grown by 30 per cent in six years, starving doctors and nurses of much needed frontline funds.
Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton announced earlier this year that the Coalition, if elected, will review the corporate practices of Medicare Locals to ensure funding for patient services isn’t being unduly diverted for administrative purposes.
Medicare Locals are to administer $1.8 billion through a range of programs, and the purpose of the review is to make sure as much of that money as possible is invested in primary care services, not Labor’s bureaucracy.
Labor has cut funding for Medicare rebates, private health insurance rebates, public hospitals and closed the Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme while building up bureaucracies, including six new portfolio agencies separate to the Department of Health and Ageing.
Labor’s priorities are wrong. A Coalition Government will redirect funding from administration to frontline services wherever possible to help Australian families with cost and access to care.
Media contact: Jen Cochrane 0434 277 865