Labor continues to scrape the bottom of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Election barrel for health policy ideas, reheating and rehashing the Rudd Government’s failed super clinics announcement today.
In Labor’s biggest health failure in Government, outside of refusing to list medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, super clinics were rejected by the AMA as bad medicine and damned by an Australian National Audit Office report, which revealed that less than 10 per cent of the clinics promised by Labor in Round 1 of their program were actually delivered on time.
When last in Government, Labor promised 65 of these super clinics, but only delivered 33, with a damning Auditor General’s report criticising the then $650 million plan.
On radio this morning, AMA Vice President Dr Chris Moy has labelled today’s announcement as “so far away from coherent policy in terms of really reforming health”, referring to the previous GP super clinics as “white elephants.”
Instead of focussing on all of the clinics across Australia as the 10 Year Primary Health Care plan does, Labor’s reheated super clinics threaten existing general practices. That’s bad policy and bad medicine.
Most concerningly, when quizzed on this announcement this morning, Labor’s Health spokesperson, Mark Butler, could not say where these clinics would be located, how they would operate or how Labor would ensure these clinics bulk bill.
Labor dropped this policy unannounced to Australia’s doctors last time, causing deep concern in the sector.
Serious questions must be asked as to where these sites will be located, will the public and health experts be consulted, or will this be another decree from Mr Albanese against expert health advice.
Today’s announcement is a desperate attempt to shift the focus from his lack of economic credibility after days of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes on the federal election trail, Mr Albanese continues to show he does not have the facts or experience managing the economy or health.
Under the Coalition, Medicare funding has increased from $19 billion in 2012-13, when Labor was last in Government, growing to $31.4 billion in 2022-23 and $35.5 billion in 2025-26.
In addition, more Australians are now seeing their doctor without having to pay with the GP bulk billing rate last year was 88.8 per cent, up from 82.2 per cent in 2012-13.
Importantly for Australians, telehealth is now permanent and universal with 100 million new services to over 17 million people since its introduction in March 2020 and investment of over $5 billion.
Mr Albanese’s thought bubble does not compare to our Government’s record investment in Medicare and work to ensure bulk billing rates are at a record high.
It seems Mr Albanese may be even worse at health than he is at economics.