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Faltering private health insurance gets more expensive.

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Senator Lyn Allison Australian Democrats Health and Ageing Spokesperson 14 March 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/146

Faltering private health insurance gets more expensive

Private health insurance premium rises announced today will increase public subsidies to the private health insurance industry by $163 million a year.

Democrats’ Health Spokesperson, Senator Lyn Allison, said, “There are much more equitable and commonsense ways of improving health services than propping up this expensive private health industry.

Senator Allison said, “$163 million would go a long way to supporting bulk billing doctors in community health centres or relieving doctors of the burden of medical indemnity insurance.”

Senator Allison said the rebate should at the very least be capped and means tested.

Senator Allison said the statistics proved the Private Health Rebate was not good for the majority of Australians.

“An Australia Institute review found around half of the private health insurance rebate benefited the top 33% of income earners, making it a subsidy for wealthy households - and its cost is projected to rise to over two and a half billion dollars in 2004-05.”

“If these funds were invested in public health, we could drastically cut waiting lists and all Australians could access a national network of community health centres providing bulk billed consultations,” Senator Allison concluded.

Contact: John Derry 0408 056 167