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Beazley flags a rise in the Medicare.



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Media Release

Senator the Hon Kay Patterson Minister for Health and Ageing

25 September 2003

BEAZLEY FLAGS A RISE IN THE MEDICARE LEVY

Former Labor leader Kim Beazley has let the cat out of the bag by saying that the Opposition should seriously consider raising the Medicare levy, the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, said today.

"A 0.5% rise in the Medicare levy will cost a family on h

ousehold income of $70,000 a year an extra $350 a year in tax," she said.

"This will be added to the $750 tax rise on average families from Labor's failure to commit to the 30% Private Health Insurance Rebate.

"Families are facing a double tax rise of more than $1000 a year under Labor."

Senator Patterson said Labor's $1.9 billion Medicare proposal is unaffordable and undeliverable.

"To try and pay for their costly Medicare promises, Labor is going to hit families with big tax rises.

"Labor has hidden behind its so-called review of the 30% Private Health Insurance Rebate for two years.

"Labor refuses to give a commitment to retain the rebate w

hich delivers $750, on average, to Australian families each year.

"Scrapping the rebate will increase tax on families by $750 a year," Senator Patterson said.

Mr Beazley made his comments about the Medicare levy during a speech at the St John of God Clinical Institute for

Education and Research in Perth on Wednesday, September 24, 2003.

"…the fact that the taxpayer sees where the levy goes, does enable one to contemplate that if any tax increase is to be effected, that would be the one most likely to garner community support, o

r in the negative, the one least likely to gather community resistance."

"As a result of the Howard Government's sound economic management we have been able to spend a greater proportion of the much larger Australian Government budget on health without raising the Medicare levy" Senator Patterson said.

For more information contact Randal Markey, Media Adviser, (02) 62777220