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Health Insurance Amendment (Compliance) Bill 2009

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2008-2009

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

_____________________________

 

Health Insurance Amendment (Compliance) Bill 2009

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SCHEDULE OF THE AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO WHICH THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HAS DISAGREED

  (1)    Clause 2, page 1 (lines 7 and 8), omit the clause, substitute:

2  Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provision(s)

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  Sections 1 to 3 and anything in this Act not elsewhere covered by this table

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

2.  Schedule 1

1 January 2010.

 

3.  Schedule 2

The day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally passed by both Houses of the Parliament and assented to. It will not be expanded to deal with provisions inserted in this Act after assent.

             (2)  Column 3 of the table contains additional information that is not part of this Act. Information in this column may be added to or edited in any published version of this Act.

(10)   Page 19 (after line 16), at the end of the bill, add:

Schedule 2—Amendment relating to disallowance of medical services items

Health Insurance Act 1973

1  At the end of section 4

Add:

             (3)  If an item in a table of medical services prescribed in accordance with subsection (1) is disallowed under section 42 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 , the corresponding item, if any, in the previous regulations is taken to apply in place of the disallowed item from the time of disallowance.

             (4)  In subsection (3):

corresponding item means:

                     (a)  the item in the previous regulations with the same item number; or

                     (b)  if no item satisfies paragraph (a)—the item in the previous regulations covering the same medical services;

as the disallowed item.

previous regulations means the regulations that were in force immediately prior to the commencement of the disallowed item.

2  Application

The amendment made by this Schedule applies in relation to any disallowance after 26 October 2009 of an item in a table of medical services prescribed in accordance with subsection 4(1) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 .

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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES REASONS FOR DISAGREEING TO

THE SENATE AMENDMENTS

 

These amendments have no substantial relationship to the Health Insurance Amendment (Compliance) Bill 2009.

 

These amendments passed by the Senate would mean that in the event that an item in a table of medical services prescribed in accordance with subsection (1) is disallowed under section 42 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003, the corresponding item, if any, in the previous regulations is taken to apply in place of the disallowed item from the time of disallowance.

 

The Government has a fiscal responsibility to manage the budget in a sustainable way that provides the best outcome for the taxpayer.  This amendment could hinder the Government’s ability to ensure sustainability of the medical benefits program in the face of population ageing and growth in the costs of medical technology, prevent the reinvestment of appropriate dividends from progress in medical technology and practice towards needed health reforms and otherwise undermine the Government’s ability to deliver the best outcome for the taxpayer.

 

These amendments are also intended to act retrospectively from 26 October 2009. This is clearly intended to have an effect of increasing the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for items disallowed by the Senate on 28 October 2009.  Legal advice to the Government confirms that this effectively would be increasing a standing appropriation and would be construed as appropriating money.  Thus, these amendments must be considered to be unconstitutional as contrary to s.53 of the Constitution, which provides inter alia that:

 

·          Proposed laws appropriating revenue or moneys or imposing taxation shall not originate in the Senate; and

 

·          The Senate may not amend any proposed law so as to increase any proposed charge or burden on the people .

 

On this basis, the House of Representatives does not support these amendments.

 

 

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                                                                                              I C HARRIS

                                                                      Clerk of the House of Representatives

 

 

House of Representatives

24 November 2009