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Wednesday, 13 May 1970

Dr JENKINS (Scullin) - There has been a lot of discussion about special account contributors and the matters of registrations of medical benefit organisations. The honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) has mentioned a number of factors with regard to hospital insurance and the basic amount that could be payable for the ordinary patient and the mentally handicapped patient. One assumes that the special account fund is meant to be protection not only for those persons who are put into it but, more particularly, for the benefit organisation itself. One assumes that the terms laid down for the registration of medical benefit organisations are protective to the contributor. I have already spoken on another occasion about the very small role which contributors play in running these organisations, particularly the major ones. One would feel that under the terms of registration of such organisations there should be more clearly denned requirements for representation of contributors on the management body of these organisations. 1 have previously stated that there is a possibility that the Hospital Benefits Association in Victoria, which is a well recognised medical and hospital benefit fund, will have 52 members on the Board which runs the organisation, but of those 52 only 4 would be representatives of the contributors. Only 4 would represent three-quarters of a million persons who belong to that fund. This provision would give to the contributors a greater degree of protection. There is another factor. If the registration is cancelled and the organisation is ineligible for the Commonwealth benefit I can find nothing to cover what happens to the contributors' funds that are already in that organisation. Is any protection given to them against the disadvantage they will suffer? These are 2 points concerned with the registration of those organisations: What protection is given the contributor by way of representation in management of the funds? What protection is given him with regard to his share of the funds in the organisation if the registration is cancelled?

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