12 August 2009
Health Minister Nicola Roxon has deserted her guarantee to Australians needing IVF treatment that they would not be worse off under her Government’s changes to the Extended Medicare Safety Net.
The Minister refused today to stand by the guarantee to the estimated 40,000 Australians who seek IVF treatment each year.
On June 15, while guiding changes to the safety net through Parliament the Minister told the Parliament that “patients who see specialists who charge $6,000 or less for a typical IVF cycle will not be worse off under these changes”.
Today in Question Time she would not repeat the guarantee leaving IVF patients with great uncertainty.
When asked by Shadow Minister Peter Dutton to stand by her statements, the Minister spent several minutes avoiding her own words.
Instead she told Parliament today that the Government was determined to press ahead with its budget measures.
Mr Dutton said Access Australia which represents those seeking IVF treatment believed if the Government pressed ahead, then IVF recipients would face substantial additional costs for their treatment.
“The Minister’s guarantee may prove worthless if the fears of Access Australia and many doctors are met,” Mr Dutton said.
“Clearly the Minister is yet again walking away from a promise or guarantee that this Government has given, its words are worthless.”
The Health Insurance Amendment (Extended Medicare Safety Net) Bill is expected to be debated in the Senate next week.