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Gap advertising reflects twisted priorities.

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Jenny Macklin - Gap Advertising Reflects Twisted Priorities Wednesday, 20 June 2001

Gap Advertising Reflects Twisted Priorities Jenny Macklin - Shadow Minister for Health

Media Statement - 19 June 2001

Shadow Health Minister, Ms Jenny Macklin, today said the $15 million being spent by the Howard Government on private health insurance advertising reflected twisted priorities on public health.

"Instead of spending taxpayers money for more health services the Government is further subsidising private health funds. If there was a need for this advertising then the funds should pay for it from the huge reserves they have built up.

"The Government could have funded an extra 1,250 hip replacement operations or 1000 heart by-pass operations instead of paying for these advertisements.

"The advertisements are thinly veiled party political advertisements reflecting John Howard's opposition to Medicare and support for private insurance above everything else," Ms Macklin said.

"The level of spending is out of all proportion. The Government spends $2.5 million a year on discouraging tobacco use, which kills 19,000 people a year. It is now spending 6 times more than this doing the work of private health funds.

"The money to fund this advertising campaign has actually been taken from money allocated to assist hospitals introduce simplified billing.

"This means that hospitals will get less assistance from Government, simplified billing will be more slowly introduced simply so the Government can promote itself on television," Ms Macklin said. Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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