Another promise broken?

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Reserve Grader
Government scolded over health safety net promise
By Mike Seccombe
April 12, 2005

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The Federal Government came under heavy attack yesterday from doctors and the Opposition over suggestions it planned to break a key election promise by restricting access to the Medicare safety net.

The Government is considering ways to stem the ballooning cost of the scheme, which was only introduced in March last year, in next month's budget.

The safety net was estimated to cost $440 million over four years. So far $649 million has been allocated, and some projections suggest it could end up costing $1 billion or more.

The scheme repays patients 80 per cent of out-of-pocket expenses above a threshold of $300 for low-income earners or $700 for high-income earners.

Among options for reining in costs are increasing the thresholds or reducing the rebate.

But yesterday the president of the Australian Medical Association, Bill Glasson, insisted the controversial scheme was good policy and should not be cut just because the Government had underestimated its cost.

"It is good policy; the electorate likes it. It is targeted at people who utilise the service, that have need. Let this thing run for another 12 to 18 months," Dr Glasson said, suggesting the cost would "plateau out" somewhere around its current level.

"It's very important from the point of view of providing affordability and security, particularly for young families and those with chronic disease."

The Health Minister, Tony Abbott, repeatedly promised - before and after the election - that the safety net would not change, despite its growing cost.

"Medicare is not a budget-limited, bureaucratically controlled program; it's a demand-driven, patient-initiated program," he said in September.

He said he could "absolutely guarantee that the safety net, as the Government has put it into operation, will continue".

!stupid: The acting Opposition health spokeswoman, Jan McLucas, said that if the Government made any cuts to the safety net it would amount to a "cruel hoax played on the community just to get them through the election".

"The Labor Party said at the outset the safety net was unsustainable, that costs would blow out, and unfortunately we have been proved correct.

"Now, whichever way the Government goes, there will be losers. If they cut the scheme, health consumers will pay. If they don't, taxpayers will pay."


First Grader
Yep there a joke.......How about the State labor party there Tops! Never made a mistake yet!


Reserve Grader
Oh, they have. But none quite so bad as the fed... there is more scope for screw ups there.

And remember, the feds provide the framework for the states.


Reserve Grader
Yep... tehy make mistakes... tehy are human... but the federal govt has the power to make bigger mistakes.
They have alot of power. Now they are threatening the state's autonomy!!! Not that they haven't before... with dictating how federal revenue is to be spent... but... preventing the states from levying their own taxes!! ABOMINABLE! GST revenue will not cover state expenses... espacially ours because we get less money per head than any other state.


UFO Hunter
Bastards. Imagine having to deligate billions of dollars every year to billions of different things without getting anyone off side with you? What a job.


Reserve Grader
If they did it fairly and with a view to the future (rathr than the short term) they would have more support.


First Grader
Well they got through last year....the majority knew who was better.....if the labor party sorted there shyte out they may have a chance next time. Then they cun run nearly every state and the country....boy wouldn't that be a good way to raise the GST!


Journey Man
They do run every state in the country. why do you think we arnt 3rd world yet.

lol, byso's only reply is check out the scoreboard. Problem is the refs influenced by the home ground advantage


Kim Jong Dan
Staff member
Tipping Member
the never ending story eeeeeeiieieiieieieieie, the never ending story......


Reserve Grader
The majority was conned. Again.I believe there is an enquiry being undertaken that will look into that.

It's a sorry state of affiars when the Reserve Bank looks at the campaigns and starts squirming...LOL

Canteen Worker

First Grader
Announced on the news tonight - the promised bowel cancer testing programme has also been abolished! Another election promise broken!!! Where will it end. Howard really is becoming a joke!

Time to go John (and Tony). You are the weakest links.)

Now that their deceit in abusing the Reserve bank's independence has also been exposed their standards are clear for all to see!!!


UFO Hunter
I think this forum needs to under-go a name change. Somthing along the lines of:

Political Venting:

For all those who want to jump on the band wagon and have a problem with everything a government does.


First Grader
I'd admit it's dissapointing that these promises are being broken.....But they are out there and admitting to there mistakes not arrogant like previous governments....but does that make things better....probably not.

Are we better off under a lib gov't.....probably.....most definately!

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