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Medicare not what Blewett pretends it to be



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PARLIAMENT of AUSTRALIA

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

P .o . B O X 1 2 0 6 . B O O B A Q O O N , W .A. 6 1 8 4 SUITE 8. GATEWAY MELVILLE CITY CENTRE BOORAGOON TEL (09) 364 5564, (062)77 4169

ΓΑΧ; (09) 3G4 9971

P8TBB 8HACK, M.P.

FEDERAL MEMBER FOH IANGNEY

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH

MEDIA RELEASE.

1st SEPTEMBER, 1989. 53/89.

MEDICARE NOT WHAT BLEWETT PRETENDS IT TO BE

"Medicare is fine, just so long as you don't get sick and need a public hospital bed.

"And, if the Minister for Community Services and Health was really honest with himself he would have to admit that Medicare's not all it's cracked up to be.

"It is ridiculous for him to try and play down the magnitude of the problems of hospital Medicare by burying on page 2 of today's news release a statement that the main disadvantages of Medicare included '... perceived problems with public hospitals'.

"The Minister should try talking to the hundred thousand or so Australians on public hospital waiting lists, or to the public hospital adminstrators, doctors and nursing staff.

"Or if he talked to the people hanging around in casualty wards hoping that someone can be discharged to make way for them, he would undoubtedly be told that the problems are far from being 'perceived' they are a desperate reality.

"The plain fact of the matter is that with hospital Medicare, just as with anything else, people are inclined to think it's okay until they have experience of it, and only about one fifth of the community get that experience in any one year.

"I bet that if the German people had been asked 50 years ago today whether Hitler was alright or not that they would have expressed satisfaction, but personal experience of his regime no doubt gave them a very different perception.

"If the Minister wants to conduct opinion polls on Medicare, why doesn't he instruct the pollsters to differentiate between community perceptions of medical Medicare and hospital Medicare?

"The short answer is he does not want the concrete evidence that hospital Medicare is the weak link in the whole system.

"Sure, Medicare helps people to pay their doctors' bills, but so could the private health funds if the Government would let them, however, when it comes to getting a bed in a public hospital it's a completely different story.

"The cruel reality is that Medicare simply does not deliver.

"That it's an expensive failure in terms of giving people the promised access to the full range of health services and that, by any objective measure you care to apply to it, is unsustainable.

"The Liberal and National Parties recognise this and would clean up Medicare so that it can help those in greatest need and at the same time we'll give tax relief to anyone who wants to get into private health insurance.

Contacti Peter Shack (062) 77 4169