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Wednesday, 14 September 1983
Page: 847

Mr CARLTON(1.53 a.m.) —Clause 64 of the Health Legislation Amendment Bill seeks to insert a new Schedule containing the heads of agreement for the State governments that the Federal Government wishes to enter into in order to bring about the new Medicare arrangements. The particular concern we have about this proposed Schedule 2, which is attached to the Bill, relates to paragraph (3 ) in the explanatory memorandum, which states that the agreement is to:

. . . provide for payments by the Commonwealth to the State for the purposes of reimbursing the States for losses incurred from the removal of all in-patient and out-patient fees for people who elect to be treated without charge as public patients in recognized hospitals, for losses incurred from a reduction in fees for private patients in recognized hospitals and for health expenditure other than hospital services;

Our concern about this clause is that it embodies the principle that people will be allowed to partake of in-patient or out-patient services without any charge and regardless of their means.

That is one of the principles of this Bill to which we are opposed. I made it clear in my speech in the second reading debate that the Opposition cannot live with measures which provide so-called free out-patient services and free in- patient services without any regard to the means of patients. Therefore we are opposed to this clause.