The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
14 May 2022
Labor’s billion-dollar slush fund
Mr Albanese and Labor’s recent record on health and the economy is appalling. What Labor has put forward is not an investment in Medicare, it’s a Ministerial slush fund.
This billion-dollar sinkhole has no detail, and no plan, and it threatens the stability of Australia’s world class health system.
Undisclosed allocations to undisclosed parties through an undisclosed Ministerial discretion for undisclosed amounts.
If it looks like a slush fund, walks like a slush fund, it is a slush fund.
Labor have provided no criteria for allocating the funding, no explanation on how it will improve healthcare, and funding will only be made available at the whim of a politician not a doctor.
We have seen that with their re-hashed GP super clinics which they said would be costed and go through a proper process – neither has happened.
Last time Labor was in Government they cut $4 billion from the Private Health Insurance rebate and the former Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek gloated about these cuts when she said, “Every promise I made I paid for. How did I pay for it? I paid for it by targeting private health insurance,” (4/4/16 Press Conference).
- listing essential medicines and treatments on the PBS
- slashed funding for mental health support and
- ripped funding out of medical research.
Unlike Labor we have a plan for our economy and our health system.
Medicare funding will grow from $31.4 billion in 2022-23 to an estimated $35.5 billion in 2025-26, up from $19 billion in 2012-13.
The proportion of people who said they did not visit a GP because of the cost of the treatment has also been falling over time, from 8.2 per cent in 2010/11 down to 2.4 per cent in 2020/21.
The Medicare GP bulk billing rate reached a record 88.8%, up from 82.2% under Labor – nearly nine in 10 visits to the doctor are free, and we have introduced permanent and universal telehealth, with more than 100 million new telehealth services to over 17 million people since March 2020.
We are implementing Australia’s Primary Health Care 10-Year Plan 2022-2032 – building on our initial $1.7 billion investment by embracing advances in telehealth, digital health, and other new technologies – contrary to claims by the AMA. Budget 2022–23: Investing in the 10 Year Primary Health Care Plan.
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.