Hands off our Medicare! Turnbull considers this dramatic change to health and aged care

Medicare and aged-care pensions could be managed by the private sector, in a controversial new plan being evaluated by the
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Medicare and aged-care pensions could be managed by the private sector, in a controversial new plan being evaluated by the Turnbull government.

The plan would involve payments for Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and the Age Pension being managed by private companies. Claims, eligibility criteria and payments would all be overseen by the private sector, replacing back-office public servants.

It would cost the government over $50 billion to outsource these essential services, but Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has warned Malcolm Turnbull to keep his “hands off Medicare”.

“When the Liberals start dabbling with Medicare it means the cost of medicine gets more expensive for sick people”, Mr Shorten said. “It looks like Malcolm Turnbull is no different to Tony Abbott. They just want to flog off Medicare and privatise services”.

“The Liberals are always running around attacking Medicare”, Mr Shorten added. “The Australian people love their Medicare and (Turnbull) you have no right to trash it”.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health has denied making unnecessary changes though, saying the plan to outsource government payments has only been quoted on at this stage.

“The RFQ (request for quotation) does not pre-empt any decisions by government to deliver Medicare, aged care or other payments services in a particular way”, the spokesperson said.

Do you think the Turnbull government should be outsourcing essential services? Could the private sector improve Medicare, the PBS or Age Pension payments? Or are you worried about public services getting privatised?

  1. Anonymous  

    For heaven sake Malcolm do NOT do this!

  2. Anonymous  

    For heaven sake Malcolm do NOT do this!

  3. Marilyn Mauch

    If he can’t get his way with the GST, what does one expect. Let him and his party try living on aged care, family assist and the public hospital scheme.

  4. Marilyn Mauch

    If he can’t get his way with the GST, what does one expect. Let him and his party try living on aged care, family assist and the public hospital scheme.

    • Maria Poland

      Marilyn he would not cope being a public patient in our public hospital………..as we have so many different nationalities…..and many dont speak good english…….with massive out break of Medical Neglegence cases …….and many that are being sweep under the carpet…..( Myself I am lucky to be alive from Medical Neglegence) due to no fault of my own……….

  5. Debbie Bryant

    I am sorry Mr Shorten but you do not speak for me. I do not love Medicare. Medicare refunds for medical services are abysmal to say the least. The whole medical system needs a complete overhaul. When people are out of pocket in some cases thousands of dollars for medical services how can we love it. I am so disillusioned at the moment that I am thinking that maybe this is a winner. Could the private sector do any worse of a job? On the upside I had to do a medicare claim on mygov the other day and it all worked. I did a little dance.

    • Barbara Easthope

      The private sector won’t change the refund amounts. They can’t as that is set by government all they will do is administer the system. It has got to a ridiculous point with out of pocket expenses but even if a private organisation were to be able to change the rate paid it will only ever be downwards as profit will be more important than people.

    • Debbie Bryant

      Barbara Easthope Maybe though the whole operation might be run more efficiently? Something has to change, the system as is is not working. The merging of the Medicare and Centerlink has been a disaster. I don’t know what the solution is but at the moment no one is getting any sort of service. Maybe privately it might be run more efficiently and cost effective which might (I say might) lead to more money being available for refunds. Though having said that I then suspect that the medical practitioners would probably charge more. So we would be no better off. Talking off the top of my head here Barbara that is now disillusioned I am.

    • Tim Hodgetts

      mygov worked? I hope you took a photograph. “Believe it or Not” pays good money for things like that.

    • Debbie Bryant

      Tim Hodgetts I know, I was very nervous but I gave it a go. It worked. That is why I did a little dance.

  6. Debbie Bryant

    I am sorry Mr Shorten but you do not speak for me. I do not love Medicare. Medicare refunds for medical services are abysmal to say the least. The whole medical system needs a complete overhaul. When people are out of pocket in some cases thousands of dollars for medical services how can we love it. I am so disillusioned at the moment that I am thinking that maybe this is a winner. Could the private sector do any worse of a job? On the upside I had to do a medicare claim on mygov the other day and it all worked. I did a little dance.

    • Barbara Easthope

      The private sector won’t change the refund amounts. They can’t as that is set by government all they will do is administer the system. It has got to a ridiculous point with out of pocket expenses but even if a private organisation were to be able to change the rate paid it will only ever be downwards as profit will be more important than people.

    • Debbie Bryant

      Barbara Easthope Maybe though the whole operation might be run more efficiently? Something has to change, the system as is is not working. The merging of the Medicare and Centerlink has been a disaster. I don’t know what the solution is but at the moment no one is getting any sort of service. Maybe privately it might be run more efficiently and cost effective which might (I say might) lead to more money being available for refunds. Though having said that I then suspect that the medical practitioners would probably charge more. So we would be no better off. Talking off the top of my head here Barbara that is now disillusioned I am.

    • Tim Hodgetts

      mygov worked? I hope you took a photograph. “Believe it or Not” pays good money for things like that.

    • Debbie Bryant

      Tim Hodgetts I know, I was very nervous but I gave it a go. It worked. That is why I did a little dance.

    • Tim Hodgetts

      Debbie I can understand your frustration with Medicare but I’d wonder at privatising it would solve the problems. Privatisation would require some form of cost either from the taxpayers pocket or the recipients benefits to provide the incentive for a private organisation to take it over. The combining of Centrelink and Medicare was not the finest idea to come out of Canberra.

    • Anne Webber

      The private sector does not do anything unless there is a profit to be made…what are the implication of this? And why would the government sell off something that makes a profit? Short term thinking methinks 🌸

    • Barbara Easthope

      Debbie Bryant I think we all are. Everything seems to be broken and nobody has a good plan to fix it. I’ve worked in both public and private sector and really feel it a bit of a myth that private is better. Profit is the motivator and every interaction will have a $ value. Computer systems are incredibly complex to build and get right, the government needs to toughen its contract conditions so massive penalties are imposed on companies who don’t get the systems they design and build working. An ex daughter in laws company was fined $10,000 per day for the overrun in getting a banks system working.

    • Libbi Elliot

      Debbie is concerned with the health system as we all are but privatizing it is not the answer. As soon as saw Pensions on that little list, I started to shake..here we go again. The private sector will charge us, they do nothing for free, they are in business to make a profit and over time, the charges get higher and higher

    • Debbie Bryant

      Libbi Elliot I agree that the pensions should remain under government administration. I just feel with Medicare that it is not working and yet we keep fiddling with it and changing it hoping that it will be better. Maybe we have to think outside the box with medical care. Maybe we need to means test access to our public hospital system. That way we ensure that the people who really need to can access free medical care. The rest of us that can afford it should have private health cover which in my view should include medical services. This would lessen the administration need for Medicare as less people would be using it. I know this is probably radical but I think we need to stop doing something that is not working.

    • Maria Poland

      Tim Hodgetts we will be worse off mate private secter will never look after the retired pensioners or the battlers

    • Maria Poland

      Debbie sounds like your a Liberal voter to me…………and I dont agree with your views

    • Debbie Bryant

      Maria Poland I am me. I don’t like labels. I have voted for both parties in my life. I respect your opinion. Until I came to this site I had never experienced people being labelled and then abused for that so called label. It has been fascinating to see just how prejudiced and narrow minded that some people can be. Everyday on this site is fascinating watching the interplay of human emotions and reactions. Being a Liberal voter is not a disease just as being a Labor voter is not a disease. I do not wish to know how people vote and I respect everyone’s opinion. At the end of the day we are just people trying the best we can to understand the world around us.

    • Anne Webber

      Well said Debbie…I may not agree with you (and I don’t on this issue) but I will defend your right to say it, especially as your insights are always worth reading and you are always respectful 🌸

    • Debbie Bryant

      Anne Webber I agree. It would be a very dull world if we all thought the same. I do not take it as a personal insult if someone disagrees with me and I am always happy to discuss an issue as long as everyone remains respectful and objective. I seem to know when to engage in discussion and when to let it ride. I enjoy reading everyone’s opinions. I also enjoy reading your comments.

    • Tim Hodgetts

      Democracy is a most beautiful thing and one of it’s beauties is the gift of free speech. All democracy asks is that we use it wisely, respectfully and responsibly. Whatever your political, religious, sexual or other orientations maybe they should not be seen as a barrier to the expression of free speech. We may agree or agree to disagree with what we hear but foremost we should all agree to defend to our last breath the right of one to express a view.

    • Debbie Bryant

      Tim Hodgetts I could not have said it better myself. My greatest love is free speech and anything that is a danger to that I will fight with my last breath. A frank and honest exchange of views is in my view the most stimulating and liberating thing available to us as human beings.

    • Glenys Calton-McLean

      Yes indeed Debbie Bryant. and there is nothing more certain as ..Change in life..whether it is our political views or other views that have an affect on us. we need to be open to change..I will go with the party or independent who is offering some sound commonsense views for its people..and the country..which has been sadly lacking..

    • Marlene Baker

      The Medicare system needs to go back to being a properly funded universal system. And yes the private system would be worse because if you could not afford the treatment, you would simply suffer, or die.

  7. Barbara Easthope

    I think it a very stupid idea. Businesses have only one consideration and that’s profit. It will be like Telstra and some other companies eventually where you get an Indian call centre. The job search network has been rip off after rip off since being privatised. Fraud among providers seemingly quite common. This entrenched Liberal Party ideology that the private sector is better and more efficient than the public in many cases has been shown to be flawed. The trouble is once it has been done it will be almost impossible to change back.

  8. Barbara Easthope

    I think it a very stupid idea. Businesses have only one consideration and that’s profit. It will be like Telstra and some other companies eventually where you get an Indian call centre. The job search network has been rip off after rip off since being privatised. Fraud among providers seemingly quite common. This entrenched Liberal Party ideology that the private sector is better and more efficient than the public in many cases has been shown to be flawed. The trouble is once it has been done it will be almost impossible to change back.

  9. Sandy Skerrett

    Stop these lunatics…they out sourced electricity no benefit to ordinary mortals. Pensions are no business being anywhere near private corporations who will be all about profit….for themselves.

  10. Sandy Skerrett

    Stop these lunatics…they out sourced electricity no benefit to ordinary mortals. Pensions are no business being anywhere near private corporations who will be all about profit….for themselves.

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