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Abbott's $1.3 billion tax hike on pharmaceuticals



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CATHERINE KING MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

MEDIA RELEASE

ABBOTT'S $1.3 BILLION TAX HIKE ON PHARMACEUTICALS

The Abbott Government has today introduced into parliament its first broken promise in health - a new $1.3 billion tax increase on medicines that will hurt every Australian.

Despite promising to ease the cost of living and not introduce any new taxes, Tony Abbott wants to increase the cost of prescriptions to $42.70 for general patients and $6.90 for concessional patients.

Labor will oppose Tony Abbott’s new tax on medicines.

The COAG Reform Council report released last week found that 8.5 per cent of people in 2012-13 delayed or did not fill their prescription due to cost. In disadvantaged areas this figure is 12.4 per cent, and for Indigenous people it is 36.4 per cent.

There is further evidence that when people were forced to pay more for pharmaceuticals by the Howard Government in 2005, prescriptions for some ‘essential medicines’ fell by as much as 11 per cent.

If these changes were truly about making the health system sustainable, the $1.3 billion slug on patients would be going straight back into the healthcare system. But it isn’t - it’s going towards a fund that looks as though it will ultimately replace the National Health and Medical Research Council’s funding.

Labor will not support changes that price Australians out of the health system. We won’t support Tony Abbott’s unfair slug at sick Australians, that is built on lies told before the last election.

This change is part of a concerted attack on universal healthcare in Australia. The Prime Minister is gutting Medicare by cutting doctors’ pay and introducing new taxes on

doctor visits, medical imaging and pathology. He is cutting hundreds of millions from public dental programs, and he is cutting $80 billion out of public hospitals and school.

This is another broken promise from a government intent on creating a two-tiered, American-style health system.

WEDNESDAY, 18 JUNE 2014

MEDIA CONTACTS: ALEXANDER WHITE 0488 134 359