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National survey reveals massive support for lifetime health cover.



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Media Release Dr Michael Wooldridge Minister for Health and Aged Care

MW25/00 21 March 2000

NATIONAL SURVEY REVEALS MASSIVE SUPPORT FOR LIFETIME HEALTH COVER Federal Health Minister, Dr Michael Wooldridge today announced figures showing that the Government's new Lifetime Health Cover policy is striking a resounding cord with Australians and rejected claims by opponents that health sector reforms are misguided.

"Clearly, the Australian public overwhelmingly support what the Government is trying to do to restore the balance between public and private health."

A national telephone survey conducted just one month into the Lifetime Health Cover campaign has revealed that 81 per cent of Australians aged 30 plus agree with the Government that the health system requires a mix of strong private and public hospitals.

"Even the Opposition, when it takes off its ideological blinkers, can see the value of the Government's private health strategy. The Leader of the Opposition called the private health insurance 30 per cent rebate a "monumental failure". How wrong could he be?

Dr Wooldridge said the survey showed that 68 per cent of Australians aged 30 and over support Lifetime Health Cover.

"The survey also shows that the Lifetime Health Cover campaign has been extremely effective in informing people about the policy, with 89 per cent awareness among the community.

"What is so great is that people are acknowledging that the Government's private health insurance reforms are about a better health system overall, and a stronger public system for people who need it.

"Not only is the private sector stabilising, but public hospital funding in Australia is at an all time high.

"The five year Australian Health Care Agreement I negotiated with the States will provide $31.3 billion over the period to 2002-03.

"This is a 25 per cent increase in real terms on the last year of the Medicare Agreement negotiated by Labor, and $4.5 billion more than the States would have received had the former Agreements continued.

"That brings the Government's annual commitment to health to $23.6 billion in 1999-2000.

"This latest survey vindicates our reforms as addressing an ailing private health system which the now Opposition allowed to bleed to near death.

"Private health insurance has turned the corner and is alive and well."

Media Contact: Serena Williams , Office of Dr Michael Wooldridge, 0411 261 627

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©Commonwealth of Australia, 2000

Published on Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care web site 21 March 2000 Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care URL: http://www.health.gov.au/mediarel/yr2000/mw/mw20025.htm