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Tuesday, 24 February 1959

Dr DONALD CAMERON (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - The honorable gentleman's question is based on a misconception. It is perfectly true that benefit for chronically ill patients for preexisting and chronic ailments was provided for in amendments made to the National Health Act in October last. I want to remind the honorable gentleman that those amendments were extensively debated in this House and agreed to by both sides of the House.

I also remind the honorable gentleman that I made it perfectly plain in my secondreading speech - and the act also makes ii perfectly plain - that those benefits would not extend to what were generally known as hospitals not recognized. In fact, those hospitals have in the main never enjoyed this type of benefit. They have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, Commonwealth benefit and Commonwealth additional benefit. However, the new benefits, which are not only hospital benefits but also medical benefits, will be extended to cover a great many people. The benefits are not designed primarily to assist hospitals. Their aim is to assist people who insure themselves against hospitalization. It was plain from th: start, and was understood both in th« House and outside it, that those benefits would not extend to all hospitals.

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