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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1391

Senator WATSON —I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health: Is he aware of the severe financial hardship caused to some pensioners by the Federal Government's new hospital charges and benefits which were introduced on 1 March this year? The recategorisation has meant that patients whose only source of income is an age pension have to find in some circumstances an extra $70 per week above their pension to cover their hospital costs. What steps does the Minister intend to take to rectify the situation?

Senator TATE —Senator Watson was kind enough to indicate some moments before Question Time that he wanted to ask a question in this general area, but I have been unable to obtain an answer in the meantime from the office of the Minister for Health. Therefore, I will have to take it on notice and provide an answer as soon as possible.