MEDIA RELEASE - MEDICARE TASKFORCE KICKS OFF WITH CENTRAL COAST HEALTH CHECK
31 January 2017
SHARON CLAYDON MP
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR NEWCASTLE
MEDICARE TASKFORCE CHAIR
DR MIKE FREELANDER MP
MEMBER FOR MACARTHUR
MEDICARE TASKFORCE DEPUTY CHAIR
MEDICARE TASKFORCE KICKS OFF WITH CENTRAL COAST HEALTH CHECK
Labor will launch its new Medicare Taskforce on the Central Coast tomorrow with the first in a nationwide series of community consultations about Australia’s health system.
Taskforce Chair Sharon Claydon MP said the Taskforce was formed in response to increasing attacks on Medicare by the Turnbull Government.
“In the coming months we will be visiting communities across the country to see firsthand how the Turnbull Government’s sustained attacks on the health system are affecting people on the ground,” Ms Claydon said.
“On Wednesday, Taskforce members will learn about the direct impacts of the government’s cuts and freezes to the health system from practitioners, healthcare clinics and community members in Wyong.
“The Central Coast is particularly vulnerable to the government’s Medicare rebate freeze with up to 15,000 people in the local area saying they are delaying or avoiding seeing the doctor because of the spiralling cost.
“We also know that up to 10 per cent of people in the region are now delaying or avoiding getting prescriptions filled and this will only get worse with Malcolm Turnbull’s plan to hike the cost of PBS medicines by up to five dollars.”
Taskforce Deputy Chair Dr Mike Freelander MP said Australia’s universal health care system has never been in greater peril.
“Families rely on bulk billing to get care they need. Without bulk billing many of the families I have seen as a paediatrician could not afford to see a specialist. Cuts and freezes to Medicare put our society at risk.
“Malcolm Turnbull needs to reverse these attacks on Medicare which will see bulk billing drop and force residents pay more.”
The Medicare Taskforce will be conducting listening events across Australia to hear directly from health practitioners and community members about the pressures they are facing and ideas on how they can be eased.
The Taskforce has been established as part of Labor's policy development program. The outcomes from its work will inform future Labor policy.