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Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Page: 3316

Mrs MIRABELLA (5:11 PM) —I am happy to assist the House by rising to speak on the Health Insurance Amendment (Pathology Requests) Bill 2010. This bill is about choice. It is about giving patients choice and we on this side of the House have extended that principle of patient freedom and patient choice. We have been consistent. We have spread that to choice for private health insurance, for example. My electorate is a rural electorate. It is not an electorate with a particularly high income. In it we have over 40 per cent of people covered by private health insurance, because they choose to have it, and in the area of health, where if you do not have technical knowledge you rely on the experts, it is even more important to give patients peace of mind that the choices they make are the best possible choices in terms of selecting those who can look after them, those who can conduct certain tests and those who can guide them through some medical issue or problem.

This particular bill amends the Health Insurance Act. It removes the need for a Medicare-eligible pathology service to be made by a specific pathology provider, thereby allowing a patient to exercise their choice to take their request to a pathology provider of their own choosing. So that does add some additional choice. For once it is good to see the Labor Party in this way, perhaps a small way compared to what they are trying to do to private health insurance, supporting patient choice. I thank the House for the opportunity to be able to contribute to this very important debate.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER —I thank the honourable member for Indi.