May 16, 2003

Albanese welcomes labor’s new deal to save medicare

ALBANESE WELCOMES LABOR’S NEW DEAL TO SAVE MEDICARE

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 16 May 2003

I welcome the constructive initiatives outlined last night by Labor Leader Simon Crean in his formal response to the 2003 Federal Budget.

The initiatives outlined under Labor’s New Deal to Save Medicare will reverse the collapse in bulk billing, rescue Medicare and ensure that health care remains accessible by all Australians based on medical need.

Even in our local community bulk billing rates have been in decline.

Labor has a very different view of Australian society than the Liberals. Put simply, Labor believes that access to quality health care should be based on medical need, not how much money you have in your wallet.

Under Labor all Australians, no matter where they live or how much they earn, will have much greater access to a bulk billing doctor.

Under Labor’s New Deal to Save Medicare the Medicare rebate for all bulk billed consultations would be lifted by $3.35 – that’s 95 per cent of the scheduled fee. This would be followed by an increase to $5 per bulk billed consultation – 100 per cent of the scheduled fee.

There’ll also be powerful new financial incentives for doctors to maintain and increase bulk billing. Doctors in our local community will receive an additional $7,500 each year for bulk billing 80 per cent or more of their patients.

This additional investment in Medicare will mean local families will find it easier to find a bulk billing doctor and take pressure off family budgets.

Labor does not want a society where only the wealthy can get access to quality health care services.

Labor created Medicare, Labor believes in Medicare and only Labor will save Medicare for current and future generations.