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Re-name the tax- "Medicare Levy" misleading



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Australian Medical Association Limited ACN 008 426 793

42 Macquarie Street, Barton ACT 2600 PO Box E115, Kingston ACT 2604

Telephone: (02) 6270 5400 Facsimile: (02) 6270 5499

Website http //www.ama.com au/

East Timor - ‘Medicare* Lew Rise

RE-NAME THE TAX - “MEDICARE LEVY” MISLEADING

The Medicare Levy is now a total misnomer and the title should be scrapped, the Federal President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr David Brand said today.

The Medicare Levy raises less than one sixth of the cost of Medicare.

His comments come as the Federal Government implements a 12 month increase in the Medicare Levy for high income earners to pay for the deployment of Australian military forces in East Timor.

“The AMA has no problem with the Federal Government raising additional revenue to pay for the deployment,” Dr Brand said. “It is certainly preferable to cutting health services.”

“We should also be looking at ways we can get more resources into our public hospital system.

“But it’s time to put a realistic name on the tax. We should end the farce that suggests that the Medicare Levy pays for Medicare - it doesn’t.

“The levy raises some $3.6bn from taxpayers - and that goes straight into consolidated revenue. It doesn’t go anywhere near paying for the $20bn that the Federal Government outlays each year on public hospitals, medical and pharmaceutical benefits.

“If the Medicare Levy fully covered those services, it would be set at more than 9% - not 1.5% - of taxable income.

“The Federal Government should now rename the Medicare levy the ‘Extra Tax Tax’ - because that is exactly what it is,” Dr Brand said.

24 November 1999

Del CONTACT: Dr David Brand

Rohan Greenland

(0411)729 097 (02) 6270 5477 / (0419) 494 761