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Exposed: Labor lied about $550m Medicare cuts



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THE HON SUSSAN LEY MP MINISTER FOR HEALTH MINISTER FOR AGED CARE MINISTER FOR SPORT

MEDIA RELEASE

17 December 2015 EXPOSED: Labor lied about $550m Medicare cuts

Labor’s own Budget Book has not only confirmed the ALP cut $550 million out of Medicare for pathology, but has today exposed their lie about reinvesting all savings back into health.

Labor’s 2011-12 Budget shows that Labor redirected $550 million worth of Medicare savings from pathology to “other government priorities” (see page 2 for full details).

This is at odds with claims by Labor Health Spokesperson Catherine King recently that Labor put all savings they made from Medicare back into the health system:

“In government, Labor worked with the medical profession to improve the quality and safety of Medicare, and where savings were realised, they were reinvested back into the health system.” - Labor Health Spokesperson Catherine King - Sunday 27 Sept 2015 - Media Release

When on Sky News AM Agenda this morning, Ms King tried to dodge the questions about the revelations, but did not deny she had lied about Labor redirecting all Medicare savings back into health, including pathology.

It also contradicts Ms King and her Leader, Bill Shorten’s, own attacks on the Government’s bulk billing MYEFO measure, where they declared:

“An attack on Medicare is an attack on all Australians… if you withdraw funds from Medicare, you will invariably put up the price of health care for all Australians.” - Labor Leader Bill Shorten - Wednesday 16 Dec 2015 - MYEFO Press Conference

“Once again, none of these cuts are being reinvested back into the health system. MYEFO confirms, yet again, only Labor can be trusted to defend Medicare.” - Labor Health Spokesperson Catherine King - Tuesday 15 Dec 2015 - MYEFO Media Release

Minister for Health Sussan Ley said Ms King’s lie had “undoubtedly undermined” Labor’s entire case for opposing the Government’s sensible MYEFO measure.

Ms Ley said one upside from today’s revelations from Labor was that it cleared the way for the ALP to reset their policy position and work constructively with the Government to ensure greater efficiency in health spending.

“Labor knows this measure isn’t delivering what they promised it would for patients,” Ms Ley said.

“Taxpayers have invested $500 million over the past five years providing pathology providers with an incentive to improve bulk billing rates for patients - and they’ve increased 1 per cent over that whole time.

“This is a perfect case of inefficient health spending when health dollars are at a premium. It’s important to recognise the pathology sector is highly competitive and corporatised with over 5000 collection centres nationally.

“We’ve seen commentary today from pathology providers only referring to what’s in the best interests of their shareholders, which speaks volumes about the real opposition behind this measure.” (continued over page…)

2

Extract from Labor’s own 2011/12 Budget Book BP2 - Page 223

http://www.budget.gov.au/2011-12/content/bp2/download/bp2.pdf

Bulk Billing Rates for Pathology

2004/05 2008/09 (the year before

incentive introduced in 2009/10)

2014/15

Pathology 85.0% 86.3% 87.8%

ENDS

Media contact: Troy Bilsborough, 0427 063 150 or Steve Block 0428 213 264