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3 September 2009

Health Minister Nicola Roxon should end continuing uncertainty for families facing increased out of pocket costs for IVF treatment to start a family.

Parliament resumes next week and the Government’s changes to the Extended Medicare Safety Net, which it promised before the last election it would not make, will come before the Senate.

The Rudd Government’s moves to cap safety net payments for IVF and obstetric treatments could put the chances of having a child out of the financial reach of many couples, Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton said today.

Senator Cormann said that 14 days ago the Coalition, together with Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Family First Senator Steve Fielding, moved that debate on the safety net caps be deferred until Health Minister Nicola Roxon revealed the extent of the extra charges couples seeking IVF help would face.

“It’s now time for the Minister to do that – to tell the 40,000 Australians who seek IVF help to start a family each year – whether they will be able to afford to do so under Labor,” Mr Dutton said.

“Two weeks ago Minister Roxon had to reveal that her Government would back- flip on plans to cut federal funding for chemotherapy drugs by deferring a decision on its implementation for a second time.”

“That proposed cut left cancer patients worried about whether they could afford life-saving treatment, it was an ill thought out and the Government had to back down,” Mr Dutton said.

Senator Cormann said Ms Roxon was now in the same position over IVF.

“After breaking a promise not to change the safety net, Ms Roxon then promised the safety net caps would not cost couples more to start a family.”

“Little wonder no one believed her and it was shown that IVF treatment would cost most people more, much more.”

“Yet again, Nicola Roxon will be forced back to the drawing board on one of her ill-thought out budget cuts,” Senator Cormann said.

Mr Dutton and Senator Cormann called on the Minister to reveal the Government’s response to the Senate’s motion before Parliament resumed next week.


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