Health Minister Greg Hunt says the Government will raise health insurance prices by up to 12 per cent to try to curb the rise in costs for many Australians.
Key points:Mr Hunt says he is not interested in making any changes to the current healthcare system to keep up with inflationThe health minister says the government will set a goal of raising the Medicare rebate to $40 a week by 2020Mr Hunt said the Government would not make any changes in the existing healthcare system because it has “the best chance of keeping up with the costs”.
“Our goal is to keep Australians healthier, secure and in the best possible position to lead a healthy, secure, independent and productive life,” he said.
“Our strategy to get there has to be a sustained commitment to Medicare and other public services and to ensure that we are able to do so.”
The Health Minister said the government would set a target of raising Medicare rebate rates to $50 a week.
“We have a very clear plan to do that,” he told the ABC.
“In 2020, we are going to set a very high goal and then if we reach that goal we will take a $40 Medicare rebate per week by that date.”‘
We don’t believe we are in a position to do it’The Government has already increased Medicare rebates by a further $1.5 billion and plans to double it.
But Dr Hunt said he did not believe the Government was in a place to do anything substantial to change the existing system.
“I think we are not in a situation where we believe we can do this, to change our system to a Medicare system that is more efficient and efficient we need to be in a different place,” he added.
“What we have seen over the last couple of years is that the Medicare system has gotten more and more expensive.”
He said the Australian Medical Association was not supportive of the idea of a Medicare rebate increase, but that the Government had an “absolute duty” to try and keep the Medicare rebate “as low as it can”.
“We are not doing it to raise costs,” he stressed.
“But we do believe that if you look at the Medicare cost of living index and what has happened over the past 10 years, there has been a decline in Medicare costs.”‘
I think the Government is doing a good job’But Dr Cook said he thought the Government needed to be more “sensible” and “compassionate” when it came to healthcare policy.
“The fact that you are asking us to raise Medicare rebate and that we will not raise it does not mean that the government is doing anything, the Government isn’t,” he explained.
“It just means that the people who will be paying for that increase are going be the patients, the seniors who are going need the rebate and it is going to affect them a lot more than the Government.”