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Government must rule out obesity fee thought bubble: Greens

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 5 May 2014

Australian Greens health spokesperson and chair of the inquiry into the Commission of Audit, Dr Richard Di Natale, said today that allowing Private Health Insurers to charge more depending on someone’s weight and other “lifestyle factors” would be a big mistake.

“Charging people more for health insurance based on risk factors like weight is a prescription for a health system that is more expensive and less fair,” said Senator Di Natale, a doctor and former public health professional.

“Abolishing community rating in favour of individual risk would make health insurance unaffordable for the elderly and people unlucky enough to be at a higher risk of illness through no fault of their own.

“Factors that contribute to obesity include mental illness, genetics and other health conditions so it would be a huge mistake to start punishing people on that basis.

“Universal healthcare is the cheapest, fairest and most efficient way to run a health system. It allows us to provide health care regardless of people’s bank balance or their individual risk of developing disease.

“The bottom line is that if we force people to take out Private Health Insurance and then start increasing fees based on factors like weight, then the elderly and most disadvantaged people in our society will be priced out of our health system.

“When I questioned the Chair of the Commission of Audit on Friday it was very clear that the commission had not thought through the impacts or practicality of its recommendations. This is just another thought bubble from the commission and the Abbott Government should rule it out immediately.”

Media Contact – Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600

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