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Monday, 18 November 2002
Page: 6639

Senator CHRIS EVANS (7:30 PM) —I move:

(1) Schedule 2, item 2, page 36 (after line 24), after subsection (2), insert:

(2A) A person is also a prescribed dental patient, in relation to a particular course of treatment, if:

(a) before the person attained the age of 22 years, an approved medical practitioner or dental practitioner issued a certificate that states that the person is suffering from a cleft lip or a cleft palate condition; and

(b) the person has attained the age of 28 years; and

(c) before the person attained the age of 28 years, he or she received treatment for the condition; and

(d) the Minister declares in writing that he or she is satisfied that:

(i) because of exceptional circumstances, the person requires repair of previous reconstructive surgery in connection with the condition; and

(ii) the person therefore needs to undergo that course of treatment.

Statement pursuant to the order of the Senate of 26 June 2000—

A small number of people with cleft lip or cleft palate may continue to need treatment after the age of 28 for their condition. The amendment will allow the Minister to authorise treatment for persons above the age of 28 years who, because of exceptional circumstances, require repair of previous reconstructive work in connection with their cleft palate or cleft lip condition.

This extension of benefits under the bill will have the effect of increasing expenditure under a standing appropriation in section 125 of the Health Insurance Act 1973, and the amendment is therefore presented as a request.

Statement by the Clerk of the Senate pursuant to the order of the Senate of 26 June 2000—

The Senate has long accepted that an amendment should take the form of a request if it would have the effect of increasing expenditure under a standing appropriation in an Act amended by the bill. This request is therefore in accordance with the precedents of the Senate.

The request circulated in my name to the Health Insurance Amendment (Professional Services Review and Other Matters) Bill 2002 seeks to amend schedule 2 to implement the argument that I put during the second reading debate for extending the Medicare provisions to include those persons with cleft lip or palate conditions who are beyond the age of 28. This bill, in part, seeks to lift the entitlement to applicable treatment to those up to the age of 28 years. We have been seeking to extend that more generally and have drafted a request that seeks to give effect to that wider entitlement. I understand that the Minister for Health and Ageing, based on a brief discussion I had with her before dinner, accepts the request. Obviously, Senator Campbell will be well on top of the issue and will be able to advise us formally whether that is the case, but my indication is that, following some discussions between the opposition and the government, there is likely to be some support for that. I think the Democrats are happy with this approach as well. This matter has been debated in the House of Representatives and has been the subject of discussion for some time. In formally moving this request, I hope that it receives support.