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Hayden's mini-Medibank ill-conceived and potentially costly



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PRESS STATEMENT FROM THE FEDERAL MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND

MEMBER FOR GWYDIR, MR RALPH HUNT, MP

HAYDENS'S MINI-MEDIBANK ILL-CONCEIVED AND POTENTIALLY COSTLY

THE FEDERAL MINISTER FOR HEALTH, MR RALPH HUNT, TODAY DESCRIBED THE RECENTLY ANNOUNCED LABOR HEALTH POLICY AS ILL-CONCEIVED AND

POTENTIALLY COSTLY. .

MR HUNT WAS RESPONDING TO A STATEMENT BY THE LEADER OF THE

OPPOSITION ALLEGING THAT MR HUNT'S COSTING OF HIS POLICY WOULD NOT STAND UP TO REASONABLE SCRUTINY.

(MR HUNT SAID LAST WEDNESDAY THAT THE COST OF THE PLAN COULD

BE UP TO $380 MILLION IN A FULL YEAR, IF 15% OF INSURED PEOPLE

DROPPED HOSPITAL COVER, NOT $130 MILLION AS STATED BY MR HAYDEN)

MR HAYDEN HAS STATED THAT WITH THE SUPPORT OF HIS PROGRAM

MANY FAMILIES WILL FEEL THEY CAN OPT OUT OF INSURANCE.

"IF ONLY 15% OF INSURED PERSONS TAKE UP MR HAYDEN'S INVITATION

TO DROP THEIR HOSPITAL COVER, AN ADDITIONAL COST OF UP TO

$250 MILLION WOULD BE INVOLVED FOR GOVERNMENTS".

MR HUNT SAID THAT THE COSTS OF ACCOMMODATION AND TREATMENT IN

HOSPITALS OF 15% OF THE PREVIOUSLY INSURED PUBLIC WOULD TRANSFER

BACK TO THE COMMONWEALTH AND STATE GOVERNMENTS, AS FOLLOWS:

RECOGNISED HOSPITALS - PRIVATE PATIENTS $ 78 M

FROM PRIVATE HOSPITALS AT THE AVERAGE GROSS OPERATING COSTS IN PUBLIC '■■■. HOSPITALS $146 M

NURSING HOMES $ 14 M

OUTPATIENT SERVICES $ 10 M

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CHARGED ...$.. 2. M

$250 M

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MR HUNT SAID THAT A SAVING OF $10 MILLION MAY BE ACHIEVED BY

WAY OF REDUCED PAYMENTS OF THE $16-A-DAY PRIVATE HOSPITAL BED-

DAY SUBSIDY WHICH WOULD NOT BE PAYABLE WHERE PREVIOUSLY INSURED

PATIENTS WERE TREATED IN STANDARD WARDS, RATHER THAN IN PRIVATE HOSPITALS. AT THE SAME TIME, HOWEVER, THIS SORT OF REDUCTION

IN BED USAGE IN PRIVATE HOSPITALS MUST HAVE ADVERSE EFFECTS ON

THE PRIVATE HOSPITAL INDUSTRY AND THE FINANCIAL VIABILITY OF MANY OF THE RELIGIOUS AND CHARITABLE HOSPITALS WILL BE THREATENED.

MR HUNT SAID THAT AS SOME STATES HAVE COMMENCED A PROGRAM OF

RATIONALISATION OF PUBLIC HOSPITAL FACILITIES, ANY SIGNIFICANT

MOVE BY THE INSURED POPULATION TO DROP HOSPITAL INSURANCE COULD BE EXPECTED TO RESULT IN INCREASED USE OF RECOGNISED

HOSPITAL FACILITIES.

THIS MAY MEAN THAT PLANNED BED CLOSURES AS NEW HOSPITAL FACILITIES COME ON STREAM, UNDER RATIONALISATION PROPOSALS, WILL NOT TAKE

PLACE.

THE' INCREASE IN COSTS RESULTING FROM THIS WOULD BE SHARED BY

GOVERNMENTS AND MUST ALSO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT.

"MY REAL CONCERN WITH THE LABOR PLAN IS THE COST BURDEN OF

HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS THAT WILL BE BORNE BY THOSE WHO ARE NOT COVERED BY SUCH A POLICY."

"MY HAYDEN IS ENCOURAGING THE YOUNG AND THE HEALTHY TO DROP

HEALTH INSURANCE. THIS MEANS THAT THE COSTS OF THE ELDERLY AND CHRONICALLY ILL WILL BE SPREAD OVER FEWER PEOPLE. . HEALTH

INSURANCE PREMIUMS FOR THOSE NOT COVERED BY THE LABOR PLAN COULD WELL SKY ROCKET.

MR HUNT SAID HE WAS ALSO VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THE IMPLICATIONS

OF THE SCHEME TO EXPECTANT MOTHERS.

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HE SAID THAT BY DROPPING OUT OF HOSPITAL INSURANCE, AN EXPECTANT

MOTHER WOULD LOSE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE HER OWN DOCTOR TO DELIVER HER BABY.

SHE MAY NOT BE COVERED FOR MEDICAL SERVICES WHICH ARE NOT .

ASSOCIATED WITH HER PREGNANCY. * '· ·

FURTHER, MR HUNT SAID SHE MAY BE SUBJECT TO A TWO MONTH WAITING

PERIOD TO REJOIN A FUND AFTER HER CHILD IS BORN.

THESE ANOMALIES, PLUS COST, BOTH TO TAXPAYERS AND THOSE WHO MAINTAINED THEIR INSURANCE WERE SERIOUS DEFECTS," MR HUNT SAID.

CANBERRA, 4 DECEMBER 1979