Apr 15, 2005

Howard Government cuts funding to medicare


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 15 April 2005

The Howard Government has broken another key election promise by cutting funding to Medicare and raising the safety net threshold.

Yesterday the Prime Minister admitted the safety net is an unsustainable policy. This, after The Howard Government spent $20 million of taxpayer’s money during the last election campaign telling Australian families about the Medicare safety net.

“This has been cruel hoax for health consumers in my electorate of Grayndler in the same way the Howard Government has broken its promises on interest rates and on sending more troops to Iraq.”

Anthony Albanese, Member for Grayndler said, “John Howard and Peter Costello will say anything and do anything to get elected. Now, after the election, Australian families have been told by John Howard they will be forced to pay more for their health care.”

On Four Corners on 6 September, 2004, Health Minister, Tony Abbott, said the Government was committed to keeping the Medicare safety net:

Question: That’s a cast-iron commitment?

Tony Abbott: Cast-iron commitment, absolutely.

Question: Eighty per cent of out-of-pocket expense rebateable over $300, over $700?

Tony Abbott: That is an absolutely rock solid, iron-clad commitment.

Instead, the Health Minister has been comprehensively rolled and the Howard Government has broken a key election promise and effectively cut funding to Medicare by cutting his much-trumpeted safety net.

Mr Albanese said, “Minister Abbott and the Howard Government have misled the Australian people and are clearly unable to deliver a sustainable health care system to all Australians.”

The safety net was always a short term, unsustainable, political fix concocted by Minister Abbott to win votes on health at the last election. One story before the election, another story after the election from the Howard Government.