“No, Minister”

27 May 2011Media Releases

Private health insurance plays an important part in delivering Australians access to world-class care. Last year private health funds paid $12.4 billion in benefits towards the healthcare of the
11.7 million Australians with private health cover.

By proposing to means-test the 30% Rebate, the Minister for Health and Ageing will make healthcare less affordable for all Australians, and by her own admission, add more pressure to our public hospitals.

The Minister’s press release of today fails to point out that the estimates of the effect of the Medicare Levy Surcharge changes on private health membership were based on the original 2008 Budget proposal, which was altered significantly in the Senate in October 2008.

The Minister herself at the time of the altered legislation passing said “the projection of the number of people from Treasury that will drop out of health insurance is just under half a million, 492,000 people”.

The Minister is being deliberately misleading in what she is choosing to tell Australian health consumers about those changes then and what will happen to our health system if the means-testing legislation is approved by the Parliament.

An independent report by Deloitte on the impact of means-testing the 30% Rebate, based on ANOP/Newspoll research into consumer behaviour, recently found that:
•    up to 1.6 million Australians will drop their cover (compared to Treasury’s estimate of 25,000);
•    premiums will increase 10% above what they otherwise would have; and
•    an extra 845,000 Australians will be admitted to public hospitals.

This will be a considerable legacy for the Minister to leave the Australian healthcare system.

Media Contact: Jen Eddy 0439 240 755