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Does Shorten back 'lazy' Labor pathology policy?

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MEDIA CONTACT: Troy Bilsborough 0427 063 150 or Stephen Block 0428 213 264



9 March 2016

Does Shorten back ‘Lazy' Labor pathology policy? With Labor Leader Bill Shorten visiting another pathology centre owned by a large pathology corporation today, does he agree with the following findings by the recent independent Grattan Institute Report?

"7.1 Lazy policy? The 2009 Labor Government changes were an example of this."

"The incentive for bulk billing should be abolished."

"It is difficult to see any grounds for consumer co-payments in diagnostic tests."

"Few patients defer tests because of costs."

"Consumers are used as pawns in pathology policy, with pathology companies threatening to shift costs on to consumers if policy changes they do not support are introduced."

- The Grattan Institute - Feb 22 2015 - Report: Blood Money

The Grattan Institute report is further confirmation there are no justifiable grounds for large pathology corporations to introduce a $30 co-payment for blood, urine and Pap tests based on the loss of a small inefficient payment worth just $1.40 to $3.40.

After all, the $500 million taxpayers invested in Labor's inefficient bulk billing incentive over the past five years only yielded a 1 per cent increase in bulk billing rates.

It’s time Mr Shorten and his Labor team started standing up for patients ahead of pathology profits.

It’s also time Mr Shorten started listening to his own side regarding Labor’s drive for pathology savings in Government and started explaining what cuts Labor will be making to replace this sensible measure if Labor continues to oppose it:

“We did think we needed to make savings in pathology. Now, they didn’t like it, they weren’t chanting in the street saying that was terrific, they didn’t like it. Some of those savings did go back into the health Budget, not all of them." - Catherine King - January 6 2016 - Press Conference

“Pathology providers have benefited from increasing automation of pathology tests which have provided cost efficiencies and enabled providers to maintain high operating profit margins... The Rudd Government considers that it is reasonable for Australian taxpayers to also benefit from these efficiencies." - Former Labor Health Minister Nicola Roxon - 12 May 2009 - Press Release

“We have one provider who is running an extremely political campaign in this election because he would like to have larger profits for his private pathology company." - Former Labor Health Minister Nicola Roxon - 14 August 2010 - Transcript 2GB ENDS