Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Health Minister's powers curbed.



Download PDFDownload PDF

Wed, 16th September 2009

HEALTH MINISTER’S POWERS CURBED

The Hon Peter Dutton MP

Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing

Senator Mathias Cormann

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health Administration

Joint Release

The Coalition has successfully moved to ensure Health Minister Nicola Roxon will not be able to make changes

to the Extended Medicare Safety Net without reference to Parliament.

The Minister, in future, will have to seek the approval of both the House of Representatives and the Senate to

change rebates paid for out-of-hospital health care costs under the safety net.

A Coalition amendment to the Health Insurance Amendment (Extended Medicare Safety Net) Bill in the Senate

today imposed that constraint on Ms Roxon.

The amendment was supported by The Greens and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon.

The Health Minister was forced to make a second substantial back-flip as the legislation was being debated.

Ms Roxon gave in to concerns expressed by the Coalition about the impact of caps on safety net reimbursement

for macular degeneration treatment with the Government agreeing to withdraw the item from the legislation.

That followed major changes to rebates for IVF treatment forced by the Coalition, Independent Senator Nick

Xenophon and Family First Senator Steve Fielding.

Both back-flips have saved patients requiring macular degeneration and IVF treatment from facing significant

additional costs for their treatments.

Shadow Minister for Health Peter Dutton said the Minister’s figures could not be relied upon as witnessed by the

major changes to IVF caps and therefore in future she would have to seek approval of Parliament for future

changes.

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health Administration Senator Mathias Cormann said the requirement to

seek approval of both Houses was an important safeguard for patients who relied on the safety net to meet large

out-of-hospital health care costs.