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Correcting the Record

LAST night at a public debate in Launceston Liberal Bass MHR Andrew Nikolic accused the Community & Public Sector Union of “scaremongering” in regard to Medicare.  We deny the allegation and seek a right of reply. What we’ve said about the threats to Medicare has either already happened under the Turnbull/ Abbott government or it’s about what it plans to do to our public health system if re-elected.

We’ve talked about:

Privatisation of Medicare What we know: Questions in Senate Estimates clearly confirmed that the government has established a taskforce that is working out how to sell off the Medicare payments system.  Mr Nikolic says there is no legislation before the House to privatise Medicare but legislation wouldn’t be required to sell off the payments system which would see more jobs lost and our sensitive medical records in the hands of for-profit businesses.

Frozen Medicare rebates What we know: The Turnbull Government decided in the May Budget to extend the freeze on the rebate doctors get when they treat a patient until 2018. This will mean many GPs who bulk-bill will start charging fees, and many GPs who already charge fees will charge more. Far from scaremongering – it’s already happening.  We’ve recently seen two Hobart practices change to private billing because of the Medicare Rebate freeze. Read more here.

Cuts to hospital funding What we know: So far the Turnbull/Abbott government has cut $57 billion from its share of hospital funding across Australia – this has a real impact on patients here in Tasmania. Tasmania’s public hospitals are set to lose $20 million next year and $1.1 billion over eight years.  

Already we are seeing 91-year-olds wait days for surgery, patients sent to Victoria for operations and a woman miscarry in an Emergency Department.  Unless the funding that has been cut is returned we can only expect worse outcomes.

Increasing the cost of prescription medicine What we know: As part of the Turnbull government Mr Nikolic voted to increase the cost of prescription medicine by up to $5 per script. Even after this price increase was blocked in the Senate, Mr Turnbull kept this policy in his mid-year Budget review which shows they intend to pursue it should they be re-elected. If this legislation is passes it will hit pensioners and the sickest in our community the hardest.

 

Mr Nikolic should look up the definition of scaremongering.  Telling people the truth even if it makes him uncomfortable about the choices he has made doesn’t make us scaremongers.  

Want to take action? Sign the Unions Tasmania Medicare petition here.

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