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Crean has got it wrong on Medicare.



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Senator Lyn Allison

Australian Democrats

Health and Ageing Spokesperson 29 October 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/785

www.democrats.org.au

Crean has got it wrong on Medicare The ALP’s claims that doctors would be worse off under the Democrats’ Medicare proposals are completely wrong. The Australian Democrats’ Health Spokesperson, Senator Lyn Allison, said: “Simon Crean’s comments today were both selective and misleading. “He claims the Democrats' Medicare package only offers doctors $1 per consultation for bulk-billing across the board. “Under our proposals, in areas of low doctors and low bulk-billing, GPs will receive up to $6.30 for all consultations - not just for the 70% of bulk-billed consultations Labor has committed itself to. “If GPs also bulk-bill children, this figures goes up to $7.77 - far more than Labor is offering,” Senator Allison said. “GPs working in areas where bulk billing is already over 80% would be rewarded with an extra $1 per consultation. This is more generous than the Government’s package, which would, on average, pay half that amount as it would only reward doctors’ bulk billing of concession card holders. “The Democrats’ priority is targeting funding to areas where there are few doctors and people are missing out. Senator Allison said, “If you combine these incentives with the range of other proposals - such as community nurses - it’s clear the Democrats Commitment To A Better Medicare package offers far greater support for people in areas of need. “The Democrats’ have taken a strong stance on Medicare, and there remain principles on which we will not compromise. The Democrats reject the Government’s proposals to: • Tie incentive payments for doctors to bulk bill only concession card holders • Offer private health insurance cover as a safety net for out of hospital medical costs • Introduce a swipe card facility at doctors surgeries which would allow bulk billing while charging patient fees Details of the Democrat’s Medicare package can be found at: www.democrats.org.au Contact: Vara Szajkowski 0408 056 167