Public health in Charlton: fund rebate must go

The Greens in Charlton today called for an end to the 30% rebate on private
health insurance saying it subsidises the wealthy over the poor to the tune
of $2 billion.

Greens candidate for Charlton, David Blyth said today, “providing quality
health care is a central responsibility of government. But in the Hunter,
the health care system is overstretched – if not in crisis.

“Cutbacks in Commonwealth grants have resulted in longer waiting lists,
deteriorating standards, declining infrastructure, staff strikes and
closure of emergency wards. This deprives areas such as Charlton of acute
public health care facilities, Mr Blyth said.

“More funding must be made available for the ailing system. Ending
subsidies to private health insurance companies would put the money back
into the public health system.

“Abolition of the rebate and extension of the 1% Medicare levy surcharge to
all high-income earners would make $2 billion available to the States for
better health care,” Mr Blyth said.

The Greens are calling for a major public review of health priorities. Ageing populations, unnecessary duplication of new and expensive medical
technology, uneven distribution of doctors and rising patient expectations
are placing increasing pressure on the health system.

“A significant part of the problem is caused by increasing control of the
health system by health care corporations,” Mr Blyth said.

“The Greens want greater emphasis on health promotion, disease prevention
and public health education programs as this will reduce the high costs of
ill health.

“We support increased funding to, and recognition of, home nursing
services; better dental services for people on low incomes and the
development of community-based initiatives to promote mental health and to
prevent and remove the stigma of mental illness.

“Charlton is a large area, with a large population and inadequate public
hospital services. A vote for the Greens sends a clear message for better
public health services in Charlton.”

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