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Expand Medicare Dental, don’t axe it – Greens

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 1 Jan 2014

Acting Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Richard Di Natale, today hailed the start of Medicare-funded dental care for children but warned the government not to use the fledgling scheme as a piggy-bank for budget savings. The Child Dental Benefits Schedule commences today, allowing 3.4 million Australian children in families receiving the Family Tax Benefit to access up to $1000 in dental services every two years. “The Greens worked hard with the last government to achieve this groundbreaking scheme which for the first time allows millions of Australians to access a dentist via Medicare,” said Senator Di Natale. “Tony Abbott says he ‘aspires’ to Medicare-funded dental treatment for all. We will hold him to his word and test their commitment to expanding this scheme so that more Australians who struggle to afford treatment can get it. “Rising out-of-pocket costs are already a barrier to health care for many Australians but the Government is exploring ways to save money by taking more from patients. As the Chair of a new Select Senate Committee that will act as a watchdog to Tony Abbott’s Commission of Audit, I will shine a light on any attempts by the government to save money by making cuts to children’s dental, Medicare or any other health program. “Unlike Tony Abbott we will protect Medicare and stop this slide towards a two-tier American system where your ability to pay determines your access to medical care.”

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