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Budget 2008: Changes to Medicare levy surcharge bad news for local families.

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Federal Member for Wannon

Hamilton Office 190 Gray St, HAMILTON VIC 3300 Warrnambool Office 73 Kepler St WARRNAMBOOL VIC 3280 Freecall 1300 131 692 E W

Federal Member for Wannon

15 May 2008


Changes to the Medicare levy surcharge introduced in Labor’s high taxing, high spending budget will add to the bad news for Western Victorian families, Federal Member for Wannon, David Hawker, said today.

“Labor clearly stated in the past that they would keep the Medicare levy surcharge, yet by increasing the threshold in the budget at which singles are now required to pay the Medicare surcharge, they have opened the door for hundreds of thousands of mostly young people to leave private health insurance,” Mr Hawker said.

“The impact of this will be quite dramatic, as these people will need to access the already burdened public hospital system if they become ill and they have not retained their private health insurance.

“This is effectively an attack on the private health industry, and if you attack private health insurance you attack health funding overall.

“Private health insurance adds money to the health system - 9.4 million Australians currently have it. As a result of this decision, private health insurance premiums will go through the roof”.

Mr Hawker said the Medicare changes proposed by Kevin Rudd will result in a significant influx of public patients in Victorian hospitals, putting even greater pressure on our overworked doctors and nurses.

“This is also a sleight of hand move to reduce Labor Government expenditure on the Medicare Rebate even though there was a clear pre-election commitment to keep it,” he said.

“By potentially removing around 400,000 people from the Medicare rebate system, the Rudd government is expecting to make savings of almost $1 billion”.

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Media contact: Jane Templeton (02) 6277 4118