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Latest AHIA survey a misleading political "stunt"

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M I E W S Brian H o w e

RELEASEDeputy Prime Minister Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services BH214/92 21 September 1992


Opinion polling results released yesterday by the Australian Health Insurance Association (AHIA) were based on biased political questions and poor methodology, according to Federal Health Minister, Brian Howe.

Mr Howe said the AHIA should be condemned for its efforts to mislead the Australian community with surveys designed to support its own vested interests.

"If political stunts like the most recent "survey" undertaken by the AHIA are to be given any credibility, respondents should be provided with all the facts instead of being asked to answer loaded political questions," Mr Howe said.

"For example, when asked whether they would like tax subsidies for private health insurance they should have been told that the money to pay for these would have to come from public hospital funding."

"In fact the question was tantamount to asking people if they would just like more money in their pocket. Why didn't the AHIA ask if people would approve of the extra $20 a week in health costs they would have to pay for these policies," Mr Howe asked.

The opposition health policy makes this clear. Under the coalition policy, endorsed by the AHIA, public hospital funding would be cut by $2.5 billion each year.

"People were not asked if they agreed to other aspects of these proposals such as the imposition of tax penalties if they didn't have private insurance, if they wanted public hospital funds cut by $2.5 billion a year, or a massive blow out in health costs, or the abolition of


"The answer to all of these would be an emphatic no," Mr Howe said.

"Therefore the results of this latest AHIA survey are extremely dubious and cannot possibly be regarded seriously."


CONTACT: Ross Gardiner, Mr Howe's Office, Ph: 2777 680

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Social Justice Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Commonwealth-State Relations