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Three shockers make a bad Budget for health

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 4 May 2016

Australian Greens Leader Dr Richard Di Natale says Scott Morrison's 4-year fiscal plan won't please anyone who values a quality health system.

"This Budget attacks universal dental care, cuts millions out of frontline health services, and contains a Medicare co-payment by stealth," Senator Di Natale said.

"Australians who value a quality health system will not be motivated to vote for the Liberals or Nationals at this election."

MBS indexation freeze: a Medicare co-payment by stealth

"If Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull are re-elected they've promised to continue and expand the indexation freeze on the Medicare Benefits Schedule out to 2020, which constitutes another cut of almost a billion dollars from Medicare.

"The Medicare freeze is now an ice-age.

"It's a Medicare co-payment by stealth, as doctors feeling the squeeze are forced to charge patients higher out of pocket costs just to stay afloat. Some are already having to close their surgeries.

"It's patients who lose out, especially in rural and remote areas."

Dental disaster

"The Child and Adult Dental Scheme is a total disaster. It's an empty promise, with public dental clinics already unable to meet their demand.

"80 per cent of dental clinics are not run by government and will be off-limits to patients using this program. The current Child Dental Benefits Scheme which the Greens secured gives free access to dental care at the local clinic of the patient's choice - this new ‘plan' strips that away.

"The government's dental plan is a dramatic pivot in the wrong direction. It's not a funding boost, it's a $200m cut, and it totally undermines the push for universal Medicare-funded access to dental."

Gutting frontline services

"Malcolm Turnbull has agreed to gouge another $182.2 million out of the health budget's flexible funds, which makes it almost a billion dollars out of frontline services since the Liberals took power.

"It's anyone's guess which services will suffer, but you can be sure individual patients will lose access to essential services.

"The flexible funds provide frontline health services like drug and alcohol programs, services for rural and remote patients, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, and preventative health programs."


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