Jul 30, 2003

Labor launches the SAVE MEDICARE Hotline

LABOR LAUNCHES THE SAVE MEDICARE HOTLINE

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 30 July 2003

Anthony Albanese MP, the Labor Member for Grayndler called on the residents of Grayndler to get on the phone and tell him how the crisis in Medicare is affecting them.

“As part of our national campaign to save Medicare, Labor has launched its Save Medicare Hotline – a special telephone hotline to collect information from local people about their Medicare experiences,” Mr Albanese said.

“We particularly want to know about problems with bulk billing. People who can no longer find a bulk billing doctor; people whose doctor has stopped bulk billing; people who didn’t go to a doctor because they couldn’t afford to and people who ended up in the Emergency Department of Canterbury Hospital or Royal Prince Alfred Hospital because they couldn’t pay to see a GP.

Labor is establishing this hotline because under the Howard Government, Medicare is in crisis. It’s getting harder and harder to see a doctor for free. Bulk billing by GPs has slumped by more than 12 per cent. There are now 10 million fewer services bulk billed than there were in 1996.

In Grayndler the rate of bulk billing has slumped by 4.3% since 1996. That means more patients now have to pay. To make matters worse, the amount you have to pay to see a doctor has more than doubled. Some doctors are even asking patients to pay more if they want priority treatment.

John Howard’s policies mean it is getting harder and harder to see a doctor for free. His answer to the Medicare crisis is to kill Medicare off entirely. Under his plan the vast majority of Australians will only be able to see a doctor if they can pay.

The Medicare crisis is hurting every Australian home, street, suburb and town. We want local people to contact us with their stories so we can continue to put pressure on the Howard Government. Labor built Medicare and only Labor can save it,” Mr Albanese concluded.