Medicare under threat again

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), says universal healthcare is again under threat after reports the Turnbull Government is investigating changes to the Medicare payment system.

“The Government just can’t keep its hands off Medicare,” ANMF Assistant Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, said today.

“First it was the failed attempt at a $7 GP tax, then it was funding cuts to rebates and bulk-billing incentives and now they’re having another go – this time looking at potential privatisation of Medicare, PBS and Aged Care payments.

“Mounting volumes of evidence demonstrate that privatisation of public services, especially in health, leads to increased inefficiency. Yet the Government inexplicably persists on pursuing this path, describing it as ‘innovative’, ‘agile’ and ‘responsive’.

“But ANMF members disagree; the best way to be responsive to Australia’s health and ageing needs is to ensure fair and equal access to quality health and aged care for all not to outsource these responsibilities to private, for-profit providers.

“Outsourcing these activities not only threatens the efficiency of these services but much more concerning, the privacy of Australians, particularly our frail and vulnerable.

“We join the Community and Public Sector Union in raising concerns about protection of  confidential medical and financial details of Medicare patients if this proposal proceeds.

“In the lead-up to the Budget, the Government must rule out changes to Medicare, including privatisation and outsourcing of payments, for the protection of all Australians.”

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