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Howe will have to re-adjust his figures



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Media Release / Dr Bob Woods *** Shadow Minister for Health no: 54

HOWE WILL HAVE TO RE-ADJUST HIS FIGURES

The Medicare Levy could soar to 5% or 6% under a Labor Government, Federal Shadow Minister for Health Dr Bob Woods forecast today.

" Brian Howe himself has admitted that an increase in the Levy to 1.4% is not sufficient to cope with the health crisis and growth in the use of health services " said Dr Woods.

A 5 or 6% Levy would be closer to the true costs of Medicare. Brian Howe this morning refused to rule out an increase in the Levy and it seems that this is his long term agenda.

By refusing to encourage an increase in the numbers of people privately insured, Brian Howe has effectively painted himself into a corner from which his only likely escape will be to increase the Levy to at least 5%. Taxpayers will be the ones to suffer.

Levels of private insurance will decline because of the Budget initiatives to discourage the States treating private patients, and the use of private hospitals for public patients. Both this measures will worsen the public hospital waiting lists and the Government's attempt at reform will backfire. The Patients Charter and funds thrown at waiting lists by the British Government actually caused an increase in the numbers of patients

waiting.

Brian Howe acknowledges this concern in one of his Budget press releases when he says "Australia f|ces a 29% increase in public hospital admissions over the next decade".

Despite this the Government has allocated a measly amount of $71 million over two years to specifically reduce the waiting lists.

Figures commissioned by the Coalition indicate that the real cost of treating the estimated 70 - 100,000 people waiting would be close to $300 million.

Capital investment funding of only $3 million this year is also uninspiring. The real cost of replacement of public hospital capital stock is estimated at $712 million per year, by the architect of Medicare, Dr John Deeble.

I challenge Brian Howe to rule out the possibility of an increase in the Medicare Levy.

The Australian public should know exactly what his revamped reforms are really going to cost them ".

19th August 1992

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY M IC A H

Tor further information contact Dr Woods or Leisa O'Connor on 06 277 4661. After hours contact Dr Woods 06 295 1800.