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Order of the day read for the further consideration of the bill in committee of the whole.

In the committee

Consideration resumed of the bill, as amended.

Senator Evans moved the following request for an amendment:

 That the House of Representatives be requested to make the following amendment:

 Page 14 (after line 28), after Schedule 1, insert:

 Schedule 1A—Amendment of the Health Insurance Act 1973 relating to the Medicare rebate for certain procedures rendered in approved procedures facilities

 1 Subsection 10(2)

  Omit "A benefit", substitute "Subject to subsection (2A), a benefit".

 2 After subsection 10(2)


  (2A) Subject to subsection (3) and section 14, the level of benefit that is payable in respect of the performance, in an approved procedures facility, of an out-of-hospital procedure determined by the Minister under subsection 73BA(2C) of the National Health Act 1953 is an amount at least equal to the sum of 85% of the Schedule fee and the facility benefit determined by the Minister under that subsection in respect of that service.

Debate ensued.

Question—That the request be agreed to—put.

The committee divided—

AYES, 35

BourneDenman (Teller)MargettsSherry
BrownEvansMcKiernanStott Despoja
Campbell, GeorgeFaulknerMurphyWest
CollinsHarradineO[quot ]Brien

NOES, 34

AbetzEllisonMacdonald, IanReid
AlstonFergusonMacdonald, SandySynon
Campbell, IanHerronO[quot ]CheeVanstone
Coonan (Teller)KnowlesPatterson

Question agreed to.

Consideration resumed of the amendments moved by Senator Harradine and postponed on 24 March 1999:

 No. 1—Schedule 1, item 9, page 9 (line 21), after "subparagraph (ka)(i)", insert "or paragraph (ja)".

 No. 2—Schedule 1, page 10 (after line 7), after item 9, insert:

 9A After paragraph (j) of Schedule 1


   (ja) where the rules of the organization provide for a waiting period with respect to contributors for benefits in accordance with an applicable benefits arrangement of the organization and the benefits are in relation to psychiatric care, palliative care or rehabilitation, that waiting period will not exceed 2 months;

—and of the amendment moved by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Aged Care (Senator Tambling) to Senator Harradine[quot ]s proposed amendment no. 2:

 At the end of paragraph (ja), add "subject to the pre-existing ailment rule in paragraph (kc)".

Debate ensued.

Document: Senator Tambling tabled the following document:

 Health Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1999—Pre-existing ailment provisions—Letter to all senators from Senator Tambling, dated 24 March 1999.

Debate continued.

Senator Tambling, by leave, amended his amendment to read as follows:

 Paragraph (ja), omit "where", substitute "subject to paragraph (kc), where".

Question—That Senator Tambling[quot ]s amendment to Senator Harradine[quot ]s proposed amendment no. 2 be agreed to—put and passed.

The question for the amendments was divided—

Question—That amendment no. 2, as amended, be agreed to—put and passed.

Question—That amendment no. 1 be agreed to—put and passed.

On the motion of Senator Tambling the following amendment was agreed to:

 Schedule 1, item 12, page 10 (line 13), omit "paragraph (j)", substitute "paragraphs (j) and (ja)".

Question—That the bill, as amended, be agreed to—divided in respect of Schedule 2, item 9.

Schedule 2, item 9 debated.

Question—That Schedule 2, item 9 stand as printed—put and negatived.

Bill, as amended, further debated and agreed to, subject to a request.

Bill to be reported with amendments and a request.

The Deputy President (Senator West) resumed the chair and the Temporary Chair of Committees (Senator Knowles) reported accordingly.

Senator Tambling moved—That the report from the committee be adopted.

Order for production of documents: Senator Harradine moved the following amendment:

 At the end of the motion, add "and that there be laid on the table as soon as practicable after the end of each period of 6 months, commencing with the 6 months ending on 31 December 1999, a report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission containing an assessment of any anti-competitive or other practices by health funds or providers which reduce the extent of health cover for consumers and increase their out[hyphen]of-pocket medical and other expenses".

Debate ensued.

Senator Tambling moved the following amendment to Senator Harradine[quot ]s proposed amendment:

 After "providers which", insert "come to the attention of the Commission, and".

Debate ensued.

Question—That Senator Tambling[quot ]s amendment to Senator Harradine[quot ]s proposed amendment be agreed to—put and negatived.

Question—That the amendment be agreed—put and passed.

Main question, as amended, put and passed.