9 October 2009
Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton today accused the Rudd Government of trying to divert attention from the harm cuts to Medicare rebates for cataract surgery will cause.
By re-announcing that it would increase one rebate for complex cataract surgery, Health Minister Nicola Roxon was seeking to play down the impact its actions would have on the vast bulk of people requiring treatment, Mr Dutton said.
“The simple fact is that thousands of Australians, mostly senior citizens, will be forced to pay hundreds of dollars more for vital, life-changing cataract surgery.”
“That or join already lengthy waiting lines for treatment in public hospitals or worse go blind.”
“Older Australians will be whacked by a halving of the Medicare rebate and should be very angry with Mr Rudd and Minister Roxon.”
Mr Dutton said the Coalition had put the Rudd Government on notice that if it went ahead with halving the rebates for cataract surgery, then the Opposition would move to disallow the changes.
“The Government needs to reconsider this harsh measure and negotiate with the Coalition to ensure that tens of thousands of people who have cataract surgery each year are not hurt.”
Mr Dutton said there were serious implications for the Government if it failed to negotiate an acceptable outcome.
He said an announcement by the Minister that it was increasing the rebate for complex cataract procedures applied to only a small number of people and was a political stunt.