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Australians agree: Medicare changes are poison.



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M E D I A R E L E A S E

Stephen Smith MP Member for Perth Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing

28/2003 Wednesday 7 May 2003

AUSTRALIANS AGREE: HOWARD’S MEDICARE CHANGES ARE POISON

New polls published today in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian show that Australians agree that the Howard Government’s proposed changes to Medicare will make the health system worse and leave them and their families worse off.

Australians don’t trust John Howard when it comes to Medicare.

According to the ACNeilsen poll: • 40% of Australians felt that they would be worse off under the changes; • only 12% thought they would be better off.

Newspoll reported that: • 46% of Australians felt that they would be worse off under the changes; • only 10% thought they would be better off.

The more that Australians find out about John Howard’s meddling with Medicare, the more they understand that his proposals will lead to the destruction of Medicare and an end to bulk billing for Australian families.

The Howard Government’s Medicare changes can mean only one thing - Australian families will pay more for a visit to the doctor.

It’s not just Labor saying this.

Last week the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of GPs, the Divisions of General Practice and the Rural Doctors Association formally met to assess the Government’s package.

Doctors concluded that the package did not adequately address the issues of access and affordability and warned it will bring about a two-tiered system of care.

Under John Howard’s proposed changes, doctors will be allowed to bulk bill concession cardholders, but they will be given the green light to charge co-payments for everyone else.

Under John Howard’s plan, bit by bit, visit by visit, the cost of seeing a doctor will increase, and Australian families will pay more.

Under John Howard’s plan, unless you have a Concession Card, you will be paying for your visit to the doctor with a Credit Card.

Media Contact: Andrew Dempster (02) 6277 4108 or 0407 435 157