Australian Greens health spokesperson and former GP, Dr Richard Di Natale, today welcomed the government’s announced reviews of the Medicare Benefits Schedule and primary health care.
“The Greens have been calling for a review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule and an exploration of alternative models in primary care for some time, so we welcome the government’s announcement today.
“Six weeks ago the Greens publicly released an policy initiative that would establish a clinician-led review of the MBS item numbers in order to reduce waste in the health system. I wrote to the Health Minister about the policy so I am very pleased the government will be adopting precisely that approach.
“I hope the government adopts a key principle of the Greens’ approach – a commitment to reinvest any savings back into the health system. This review must be about improving efficiency, not a government cash grab.
“Trying to make the health system better is where health reform should have begun, instead of trying to shift costs onto patients and the states. And while we welcome this new positive approach, the Abbott Government also needs to rectify the considerable harm it has already inflicted on Australia’s health system.
“If the government is committed to dropping the co-payment it must also drop the freeze on Medicare payments as it is nothing more than a co-payment by another name.
“This government has ripped $50 billion out of hospitals over the next decade, a devastating blow to a crucial public service. It shifts costs onto the states so the Premier’s have no choice but to beg for an increase in the GST.
“The Greens call on the government to return the funding to our hospitals in full because our health is too important to be used as a political pawn.”
Media contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600