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New budget means private health even harder for Strathbogie Shire

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THE HON DR SHARMAN STONE MP Federal Member for Murray

Tuesday 23 Oct 2012

New budget means Private Health even harder for Strathbogie Shire

$1 billion was cut from Private Health Insurance, even though the Prime Minister had previously stated that she would leave this sector alone.

The savings will come from not paying the rebate on increases to premiums above CPI and by removing the rebate on Lifetime Health Cover loading.

People in Strathbogie Shire do not have access to public hospital beds. Health Service Centres at Euroa, Nagambie and Violet Town evolved from bush nursing hospitals and so they do not have public funded hospital beds. You have to have private health insurance to have rebated cover or pay the full costs.

Private health insurance is often sought by lower income people in later life. The growing waiting lists for elective surgery can only be overcome if someone has a private health insurance option. Unfortunately taking out health insurance for your older years has now become even less affordable.

Murray Electorate already has some of the country’s lowest rates of private health insurance given its cost and our lower incomes. Less than 30% can afford this insurance.

I have been working with our hospital boards pressing for an allocation of public beds for Strathbogie Health Services, but so far, this has fallen on deaf ears.

With Private Health Insurance just made even less affordable in this new policy, locals will continue to face long trips to Shepparton and other hospitals, who do have public beds.

This affects the viability of Strathbogie Health Services and is very hard on families.

In some cases, in an emergency, it could even be life threatening.

Sharman Stone Member for Murray

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