Posts Tagged ‘Health’

MEDIA RELEASE: 22 January, 2015: Drop the co-payments policy entirely Sussan Ley!


australian-democrats-logo-300Darren July 2010

Australian Democrats

22 January, 2015

Drop the co-payments policy entirely Sussan Ley!

Health Minister Sussan Ley is to be congratulated for her stated commitment that bulk billing will continue for vulnerable people and concession patients say the Australian Democrats. However, our congratulations stop there, says the National President of the Australian Democrats, Darren Churchill.

Ms Ley is consulting with the somewhat unrepresentative AMA (only about 40% of doctors are AMA members), but what about the many other deliverers of good health outcomes in Australia?

“Why isn’t Ms Ley consulting with nurses, midwives, physios, pharmacists etc all of whom have the capacity to provide a more cost-effective health system if their talents are properly utilised,” said Mr Churchill.

“Ms Ley says that broadly there is support for a co-payment, but the Democrats challenge her to provide the evidence for this claim.

“The Government’s initial justification for the co-payment was to slug patients more money in order to finance their proposed Medical Research Future Fund. Why is that needed when we already have the National Health and Medical Research Council and other hospital research foundations? The NH&MRC is an important body respected in part because it funds not just medical but *health research. But the body proposed by the Government will fund only medical research.”

Ms Ley claims that the principle of co-payment is sound, yet the World Health Organisation (WHO) has found differently. A WHO study found that, confronted with increased payments for pharmaceuticals, those on lower incomes reduced their use resulting in other problems further down the track.

“So in the longer term patients who have cut back on their health costs will re-present in a far worse state, often in a crisis, in hospital emergency departments. The health costs will actually increase as a consequence. But it won’t be the federal government meeting those costs – it will be the state and territory governments that run the hospitals. What this sneaky government is up to is cost-shifting to the states and territories.

“If the issue really is about the general funding of our health system the Australian Democrats propose, instead of a co-payment, a 0.5% increase in the Medicare levy. This would be a cost of approximately 50c per day for someone on $30,000 p.a. and $1.60 per day for someone on $100,000 p.a. Additionally there should be legislation to ensure that the levy is paid on gross and not net income.

“Increasing the Medicare levy is a much more socially just way than the divisive co-payment which hits hardest those who can least afford it.

“This whole impasse over the GP co-payment and bulk-billing could have been avoided if the government was not so bloody-minded, had consulted with health and medical professionals to find out where savings could be made and was being honest about what it is they want to achieve,” said Mr Churchill.

Further comment:
Darren Churchill
National President
0412 196 473

*Health research might encompass, for instance, research to find out whether there really is broad public support for a co-payment, as there really is no information about this.