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Greens Health policy - a step in the right direction

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CHF is an independent not for profit organisation representing over 2 million health consumers.

Consumers Health Forum of Australia PO Box 3099 Manuka ACT 2603 T: 02 6273 5444

ABN 82 146 988 927

MEDIA RELEASE Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Greens health policy - a step in the right direction

The pledges of the Australian Greens to take up the issues of inadequate mental health services and rising health costs will meet the needs of some of the most marginalised health consumers in our community the peak body representing health consumers, the Consumers Health Forum of Australia says.

“We know that much more needs to be done to provide effective mental health services and to grapple with rising out of pocket health costs which hit many people, particularly older people and those with chronic illness,” CHF CEO, Carol Bennett said following the release of the policy.

“While we have seen some significant health commitments in this election campaign, many people with mental illness, including young people and those in the bush, are left to battle with minimal treatment and support, forced to hop on and off the critical care merry-go-round.

“The very real and growing problem of ‘out of pocket’ costs for consumers has been largely ignored by the major parties. It seems their strategy is to ensure health policy is a relatively small target in this election campaign. Australia ranks among the top 5 countries in the world for out of pocket costs and it is leading to the creation of a two-tiered health system - one for those who can afford access to the healthcare and one for those who cannot. It’s time for politicians to take heed of consumer views and the rising statistics that suggest out of pocket concerns are not just about whether you can afford condoms and band-aids,” Ms Bennett said.

“The Greens are showing the way in proposing a $9 billion boost to health programs which they say would be fully funded and would underwrite the universal access to health care Australians expect. If the touchstone for health policy is trying to meet our health needs rather than keep vested interests on side, the Greens policy represents a major step forward,” Ms Bennett said.

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