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Wednesday, 14 September 1983
Page: 835


Mr GROOM(12.32 a.m.) —People are very confused about this scheme and they are now at the stage where they wish to make decisions about private insurance. I would like to direct a particular question to the Minister for Health (Dr Blewett) who is at the table and trust that he can provide us with some guidance tonight. For example, let me take the St Vincent's Private Hospital in Launceston in northern Tasmania, which will probably be a category B hospital. I am informed that the daily bed cost will be $130 a day. The amount that will be recovered from the Medicare payment will be $30 a day, leaving a balance of $100 plus additions. They are only round figures. Like many other members, no doubt, I have had constituents come to me and say: 'What should I do ? What advice can you give me'? I would like to know whether the Minister can indicate, at this stage, what it is likely to cost a person in that situation if he wants to attend that hospital and be covered for the full costs for care. What is the cost to the individual? What would be the cost to a family? I put this question seriously. If the Minister does not know now from his consultations with the private medical funds, can he say, since the legislation is supposed to start on 1 February, when the public is likely to find out these facts so that it can make decisions?