SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
16 JUNE 2021
For 50 years Labor has fought for the right of all Australians to access decent, affordable health care and for every one of those 50 years the Liberals have fought to tear that down.
And here we are, again, with Medicare again under attack and once again, it's the people right across Australia, including in my electorate of Isaacs, who will pay.
Under the cover of the Victorian COVID19 outbreak Scott Morrison snuck out almost 1000 changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule. Changes such as scrapping a quarter of the existing items for shoulder surgery, which means no Medicare or Health Fund rebate for those items and patients left to either pay the full cost or to do without the surgery.
Changes such as scrapping some tendon procedures for elbow surgeries, again, leaving patients to pay as much as $10,000 or do without surgery.
This is the biggest attack on Medicare in decades, but sadly, it is not isolated.
This attack on Medicare comes on top of years of cuts that have already forced patients in my electorate of Isaacs to pay bigger and bigger out of pocket costs.
In 2019/20, the most recent year for which we have data, the average out of pocket cost for specialist attendances in Isaacs was $83.85. That's a rise of almost $30 or 53% since the Liberals came to power eight long years ago promising no cuts to health.
Now with these latest cuts that gap will only get bigger and more and more people in Isaacs will find themselves with even bigger medical bills, or if they can't afford to pay, delaying vital surgery.
That means more and more people in Isaacs will be in pain, will be losing some quality of life, because yet another Liberal government hates Medicare and doesn't believe everyone should have the right to decent, affordable quality health care.
Cutting Medicare is in the Liberals' DNA. You can never trust the Liberals on Medicare. Scott Morrison, like Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull and John Howard and Malcolm Fraser, has proved that no matter who the leader is the Liberals hate Medicare and only ever see health programmes as a way to cut the budget and make health less affordable for those who need it most - the sick and the poor.
It's proved yet again that the Liberals can never be trusted when it comes to health and it's proved yet again that only Labor can be trusted to defend Medicare.
Labor built Medicare. Only Labor believes in Medicare and only an Albanese Labor Government will protect Medicare so all Australians can continue to access decent, affordable health care.