In his fourth week of campaigning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised to relax the income test for older Australians, effectively expanding healthcare access for 50,000 voters.
If re-elected, the Morrison government will raise the income test from $57,761 to about $90,000 for singles and $92,416 to $144,000 for couples and will include making medications and health services more affordable and accessible.
Morrison said the change would begin from July 1 and cost $70 million over four years.
“This means more senior Australians could save hundreds of dollars, including up to $428 a year for access to a monthly script for vital medicines and a refund for medical costs if you reach the Medicare safety net,” he said.
“This is the first major change, outside of indexation, to the income threshold of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card in over 20 years. The Coalition can deliver this because of our strong economic management.”
More than 436,000 older Australians currently do not meet eligibility requirements, for the Seniors Health Card.
“Every dollar counts, especially for older Australians who are no longer working. Senior Australians have worked hard to make Australia all that it is today, and it’s important that the country takes care of them in return,” Morrison said.
The bid to woo older voters comes as care for older Australians and medicare itself has been a heated topic of debate for both parties, with the Labor Party (ALP) calling out the Coalition for making it harder to access affordable healthcare.
The price of medications has gone up under the Morrison Government – just like the cost to see a doctor has gone up. Medicare will always be stronger under Labor. pic.twitter.com/7auBimmwgT
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) May 1, 2022
The ALP hit back at the Liberal Party’s (LNP) promises saying the last time they were in power, the ALP delivered “the biggest lift to the pension in history” in contrast to the Coalition who chose “a new Health Minister who thinks Medicare needs to be cut”.
“The Liberals have a habit of making promises to pensioners at election time but cutting support at budget time,” the ALP said in a statement.
“Over the course of their decade in power, this Government tried to lift the pension age to 70 years, and when Scott Morrison was in charge as Minister, he took 90,000 seniors off the Pensioner Concession Card.”
Aged care was a key focus in Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s budget response, pledging $2.5 billion to the abandoned sector to gander support for the upcoming election on May 21.