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Thursday, 24 May 1973
Page: 2576

Mr BERINSON (PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Has the attention of the Minister for Social Security been drawn to the reported allegation by the General Manager of the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia that figures released this week showing a large increase in hospital insurance reserves had been 'deliberately distorted' - I am using the General Manager's words-to put the funds in a bad light? Have the figures been distorted deliberately or otherwise? Have they in fact been prepared on any different basis from that used in previous annual reports? If not, would it be fair to say that, whatever one's view of the correct amount of resources, at least the indicated movement of reserves, that is, upwards, must be correct?

Mr HAYDEN - The only distortion in fact has been in statements by representatives of the health fund referred to. The basis for the accumulation of reserves and indeed, for calculating the financial performance of the fund mentioned in the report tabled in the Parliament this week, is exactly the same as that used last year and in previous years by the previous Government. I have checked with the Department of Social Security and I am advised that the arguments which have been put forward by spokesmen for the funds are not legitimate arguments and are not accepted, and that the basis on which the Department has made these calculations on this occasion - and it is consistent, I repeat, with every past occasion when they have made these calculationsis legitimate and is valid.

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