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Labor and Democrats join forces to break Medicare agreement Logjam



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The Hon Michael Lee mp M e m b e r f o r D o b e l l SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH

LABOR AND DEMOCRATS JOIN FORCES TO BREAK MEDICARE AGREEMENT LOGJAM

Shadow Health Minister, Michael Lee, and Democrats Leader, Senator Meg j_ees, today announced that the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee has agreed to conduct a public inquiry into the next Medicare

The Senate has confirmed that the committee will report on 18 May 1998 and a hearing date has been set for 5 May 1998.

Mr Lee said there was no more important issue facing the Commonwealth today than ensuring that Australia’s public hospitals received the additional funding they need to provide a decent standard of care.

“Over the last few months Shane Stone and all of the Premiers, Liberal, Labor and National have come together to demand additional federal funding for public hospitals.

“Today the Labor Party and the Democrats are jointly calling on the Howard Government and the states to use this Senate Inquiry to break the logjam in hospital funding.

“I believe the current Commonwealth offer double counts funding for mental health and palliative care and does little more than put back the federal funding for public hospitals which John Howard removed in his 1996 budget.

“If John Howard and Michael Wooldridge really believe their current offer is a good deal for the states, one of them should be prepared to appear before this Senate Inquiry to defend their claims.

“The inquiry will also give the states an opportunity to respond in detail to John Howard’s guarantee that patient care will not suffer if the federal funding offer is not improved.

“Today’s media reports provide further graphic evidence that Australia’s public hospital system is in crisis. I hope John Howard will be big enough to respond to this genuine offer.”

6 April, 1998

Agreement.

Contact: Michael Lee 02 6277 4221

0417 277 477 Parliament House Mobile