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Greens introduce bill to keep lid on health insurance premiums

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 27 Mar 2014

Australian Greens health spokesperson, Dr Richard Di Natale, has today introduced a bill to stop private health insurers from providing GP cover, which would cause premiums to skyrocket.

“The Greens have today introduced a bill to protect Medicare and keep healthcare costs down,” said Senator Di Natale.

“Medibank Private wants to be the first private health insurer to offer coverage for GP services but this is a prescription for health insurance premiums to skyrocket. It is currently exploiting a loophole to enable it to provide insurance cover to some General practices in Queensland and it has plans to expand this model nationally.

“This might be a good tactic for increasing market share and driving up the Medibank sale price but it will leave ordinary people worse off.

“Medicare has kept the cost of seeing a doctor down for 30 years because a single universal insurer has the power to set the price of services. If competing private health insurers start covering primary care it will take the lid off the price of a doctor’s visit and everyone will end up paying more.

“While health insurers providing GP cover has superficial appeal, this change will mark the end of Medicare as we know it. Private health insurance would become a necessity to see a GP yet insurance premiums will go through the roof.

“If the other parties want to keep healthcare costs down for all Australians they should get behind my bill.”

Media Contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600

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