16 April 2016
Shadow Assistant Health Minister Stephen Jones has today joined Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon in calling on the federal Government to end its attacks on Medicare.
Speaking at a Save Medicare Rally at Gregson Park in Hamilton the Labor MPs warned that Medicare was never safe under the Coalition.
Stephen Jones said that Labor wouldn’t give up the fight to protect Medicare.
“In the last few years we have seen $57 billion cut from our hospitals and the freezing of Medicare rebates for GPs. The rebate freeze will force many Doctors to charge their patients an additional co-payment or face going bust.
“On top of that the Government has cut $650 million from bulk billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging. That means patients could be slugged more every time they need a blood test or an x-ray. This could result in people avoiding tests that could save their life.
“Medicare is there for all of us in our times of need. It is the envy of many countries around the world, so you have to ask yourself – why is this Government so intent on tearing it apart?”
Sharon Claydon said that the attacks on Australia’s health system just keep coming and are being acutely felt in Newcastle.
“More than $155 million has been cut from Hunter New England Area Health hospitals that care for our community.
“Recently, we have learned that Malcolm Turnbull also plans to make it more expensive for kids to see a dentist. It is just further proof that the Liberals only ever see health as a source for Budget cuts.
“Local dentists have spoken of the value and importance of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule that has already helped more than 8,500 Newcastle and Hunter children since the program started in 2014.
“This scheme provides eligible children with up to $1,000 in dental treatment every two years.
“Even though the Health Department has labelled it a ‘success’ the Liberals want to scrap it. Low and middle income families struggling to make ends meet will be the real losers here.
“If you don’t get on top of problems with dental care early on it can have devastating health and social impacts throughout your life. This cruel decision just isn’t good enough and I’m standing here with Stephen Jones to say enough is enough.
“Communities across Australia deserve better than a Government that wants to dismantle a world-class healthcare system.”