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Veterans' health services not exempt from Malcolm's privatisation agenda



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THE HON CATHERINE KING MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

DAVID FEENEY MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS MEMBER FOR BATMAN

VETERANS’ HEALTH SERVICES NOT EXEMPT FROM MALCOLM’S PRIVATISATION AGENDA

Payments for health services of Australia’s veterans could be outsourced from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to a private provider under Malcolm Turnbull’s privatisation agenda.

In the past three years the veterans’ community has been overwhelmed by cuts from the Turnbull-Abbott Government, cuts which Labor has fought hard against. This would be yet another blow.

The veterans’ community relies on more than $2 billion in medical assistance and more than $425 million in pharmaceutical assistance every year.

Documents released under FOI reveal that the Government is seeking tenders for the “commercial provision” of Medicare payments for veterans’ vital health services:

“The Department of Health is seeking expressions of interest for the commercial provision of Medical and Pharmaceutical Benefits Claims and Payment Services provided by the Department of Human Services and similar payment services provided by that Department for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).”

There is a clear reason nobody believes Malcolm Turnbull when he says he won’t privatise Medicare - he is already selling off important health functions.

Veterans are already subject to Malcolm Turnbull’s co-payment by stealth, as the DVA benefits schedule has been frozen along with the MBS.

A Shorten Labor Government will protect veterans’ health care and lift the freeze on MBS indexation from 1 January 2017.

Medicare provides our veterans the access to health services they need.

Labor will fight against Malcolm Turnbull’s attempts to privatise Medicare every single step of the way.

Malcolm Turnbull needs to rule out any move to privatise this vital part of veterans’ health services.

FRIDAY, 24 JUNE 2016