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Thursday, 23 March 1972
Page: 849

Senator McAULIFFE (QUEENSLAND) - I ask the Minister for Health: Is it a fact that an infant under 10 days of age who is an in-patient of a hospital at the same time as its mother is an in-patient attracts no health insurance benefit for this hospitalisation? Is it also a fact that in the case of a mother having a difficult delivery in which complications lead to her being admitted to an intensive care unit and the infant being admitted to another section of the hospital at the same time, very expensive costs can be incurred for the treatment of the infant when intensive care is required and no medical benefits are paid for the child? What steps does the Minister propose to take to eliminate mis anomaly?

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - It is true that in the case of a birth at a hospital the 10-day rule applies. As the honourable senator says, the child is regarded as being linked to the mother in terms of hospitalisation for that time. Senator McAuliffe raises the situation of when complications set in and asks whether the 10-day rule should not have some variation in relation to the claim for hospital benefits. I can say to him that this matter is being examined at the present time.

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