This budget fails Australian patients, has zero vision for the future of the system and is a political fix, pure and simple. The Government’s plan to lift the Medicare freeze will have no impact for patients for at least a year, if not longer, leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale said.
“Greg Hunt’s ‘road map’ for health lacks any vision for the future of healthcare in this country. It’s a U-turn that takes us back to where we were three years ago.
“Taking the Medicare freeze off ice is an entirely political fix by this Government in response to a very successful campaign run by doctors. It unwinds part of their worst health policy while doing nothing to look to the future of our health system. We’re pleased they finally listened, but this ‘phased’ removal is meaningless for patients.
“Whatever happened to Prime Minister Turnbull’s flagship health reform? This time last year Malcolm was out there spruiking his Health Care Homes initiative to revolutionise Medicare for chronic disease, yet last night we saw the funding for this initiative cut and kicked two years down the road while trial sites are delayed until October.
“Not only are they unpicking their own reform program designed to treat people with chronic illnesses, there is next to nothing for programs to help prevent Australians developing debilitating chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease in the first place, particularly in children.
“In case there was any doubt, this budget also confirms this Government has no commitment to Closing the Gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health.
“Australians have every right to feel hugely let down, again, by this government on health. This budget is not about patients. There is not one measure here, apart from cheaper medicine, that would improve health care for those who receive health care: patients.
“What this government continually fails to get is that there is no better investment than the health of Australians.