Save Medicare

A Stronger Medicare for all Australians

Australians deserve access to the best possible health care when they need it – determined by their Medicare card, not their credit card.

Nobody wants to head down the same path as America when it comes to our ability to see a doctor, visit a hospital or buy medicine.

A Shorten Labor Government will save Medicare and adequately fund our health care system.

Labor will restore indexation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule from 1 January 2017, protecting bulk billing and killing Malcolm Turnbull’s plans for a GP Tax.

This will apply to all services provided by GPs, allied health and other health practitioners and medical specialists.

We will reverse Mr Turnbull’s cuts to pathology and diagnostic services, which would hit Australian families every time they have a blood test or x-ray.

A strong health system requires adequately funded hospitals which is why Labor will restore the National Health Reform Agreement for four years. This will help our hospital system with $2 billion worth of funding, which will reduce waiting list times for elective surgery and provide more resources for our public emergency departments.

To complement our commitment to our States and Territories’ hospitals we will boost day-to-day primary care services by $100 million, meaning fewer people will end up at hospitals for treatment.  

A Shorten Labor Government will also scrap the LNP’s medicines price hike and ensure healthcare remains affordable for every Australian.

This would see co-payments increase by $5 for general patients and by $0.80 for concessional patients.

No one should have to choose between buying medicine and putting food on the table.

Labor will scrap the Liberals’ cuts to the PBS, ensuring there will be no increase to the co-payments or safety net thresholds on top of regular indexation.

This means that under Labor, medicines and health care will be more affordable than under Malcolm Turnbull.

Labor created Medicare, and only Labor will save Medicare.


LNP Cannot be Trusted with our Health

The LNP cannot be trusted with the health needs of our community. Examples of attacks on Medicare during the Abbott-Turnbull Government are:

GP Patient Tax

The LNP have cut more than $2 billion from Medicare payments to GPs through a six year freeze. These cuts will:

  • Drive down bulk billing

  • Force more patients to pay every time they see a doctor 

  • Force those patients who already pay, to pay more;

  • Force some patients to to skip seeing a doctor, putting them at risk getting sicker and ending up in hospital

These cuts are the equvilant of an $14 GP Tax on patients, double what Tony Abbott originally proposed back in 2014.

Cuts to Pathology and Screening Services

Mr Turnbull cut $650 million from Medicare in the Mid Year Budget review:

  • Mr Turnbull has delayed this by three months to get through the election but has confirmed that the savings will continue.

  • This includes cuts to Medicare for pathology tests and scans including MRI, X-Rays, CAT scans and mammograms;

  • This will affect patients being diagnosed and treated for cancer and other serious health conditions;

  • Many patients will be forced to fork out thousands of dollars upfront, and face higher out of pocket costs, for these tests;

These cuts drive down bulk billing, drive up out of pocket costs, and deter people from getting crucial scans and tests.

Making Medicine more Expensive

In his horror 2014 Budget, Tony Abbott announced $1.3 billion in cuts to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), to be achieved by increasing co-payments and safety net thresholds.

This would see co-payments increase by $5 for general patients and by $0.80 for concessional patients.

The LNP also plan to increase the PBS safety net thresholds each year for four years. This would see the general safety net thresholds increase by 10 per cent a year, and the concessional safety nets rise by the cost of two prescriptions a year.

Malcolm Turnbull confirmed his commitment to these cuts by building them into his first budget earlier this month. They would come on top of the existing annual indexation of co‑payments and safety net thresholds in line with the Consumer Price Index.

Cuts to Dental Care

In this Budget the Turnbull Government cut Labor’s Child Dental Benefits Scheme – cutting $1 billion out of dental funding overall.

Since its introduction, Labor’s $2.7 billion Scheme has provided around 10 million affordable dental services to one million Australian children. Many of them had never seen a dentist, because their parents had not been able to afford one.

Labor initiated the program in response to disturbing evidence that almost 60 per cent of 14 year olds had experienced permanent tooth decay.

The Government’s alternative will see five million children join five million adults awaiting a spot on the already overcrowded public dental waiting lists, a move which will see them wait years for treatment.

Slashing Hospital Funding

The LNP have cut $57 billion of funding from our public hospitals which are already under pressure.

  • Figures from the independent Parliamentary Budget Office show these cuts affect every hospital in every State and Territory; $10.7 billion in Queensland alone.  

  • This will have a real impact on patients with increasing emergency waiting times, longer waits for elective surgery, and fewer hospital beds

  • The Queensland Health Department says the cuts are the equivalent of 4,500 doctors, nurses and allied health practitioners

They simply don't believe that investing in our health care is important.