Let’s talk: Is the government going to meddle with Medicare?

Medicare was a huge topic of contention during the election with Labor running a huge campaign warning people the Coalition

Medicare was a huge topic of contention during the election with Labor running a huge campaign warning people the Coalition was going to sell it off to the highest bidder and force up the cost of health care for voters.

Labor has since been accused of running a scare campaign and the subject has largely stayed quiet ever since.

Now though the head of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Michael Gannon, has renewed concerns with his call for conservative politicians to stop “fiddling around” with Medicare saying voters will be furious if changes are made.

“The Coalition government went to the election oblivious to, or unprepared for, the community’s concerns about health services,” Dr Gannon said on Wednesday.

“Right or wrong, co-payments became code for attacks on poor and disadvantaged people in the community. They were seen as attacks on sick people. They were seen as attacks on working families with young kids. In short, the co-payment strategy was a political disaster.”

He said that regardless of their own political beliefs, politicians need to understand that millions of Australians rely on Medicare and have come to depend on the basic right of free health care.

“When Australians say ‘Medicare’ what they mean is that they want ready access to public hospital treatment, free treatment in public hospitals and they want subsidised treatment to see their GPs and for their basic healthcare . . . I think that wherever we sit as individuals on an ideological continuum, I think collectively the Australian people have said that they are very comfortable with the state, to a large extent, being in charge of their health and their education.

“They don’t want the right of politics fiddling around with them,” Dr Gannon said.

He also said the federal government needed to pay more attention to waiting times and treatment in emergency departments and for elective surgery after the states and territories failed to meet the benchmark.

Dr Gannon said, it was as a “direct consequence of the Commonwealth failure to fund their share of public hospitals”.

“The states and territories have narrow tax bases, with an unhealthy reliance on old, inefficient taxes, and immoral sources of funding like that from pokie machines. The Commonwealth government needs to step up,” he said.

So far the Coalition has stuck to its promise not to put Medicare on the market, but some are still worried it could be on the cards for the future.

What are your thoughts?

Do you think the government will mess with Medicare? Do you rely on Medicare or do you think private health insurance is better?

  1. the government will eventually wipe out medicare and anything else that benefits the poor in Australia they would wipe us out if they could

  2. Anne  

    Wasn’t the big talk by Turnbull before the election that Medicare would not be touched. He needs to keep his promise. We CANNOT LET IT BE SOLD OFF, we need to keep control of Medicare, otherwise we will end up like America, where only the rich have access to healthcare, or you end up bankrupt because of a hospital bill.

    • Anne, IF Turnbull keeps his promise not to meddle with Medicare because it was one of his promises before the election, he will be the first LNP Prime Minister to do so. Every single one of them has broken election promises in the past and Turnbull is not going to be any different.

    • Ray  

      Outsourcing payments is not sold off. Who’d buy something anyway those loses billions every year?

  3. The watcher  

    Its in the lnp dna. The frontal attacks failed so they will tinker round the edges make ‘ adjustments’, reduce and freeze funding (like they already have to pathology) . Not fund advanced treatments on the pbs (already underway) and generally make the system unusable. Then they will privatise, profitise and deprive our children of the best healthcare regardless of you dollar status.
    I am ashamed to have not protested this more strongly and deeply sorry for my grandkids and great grandkids who will never know the security of a universal health system .

  4. elena  

    Yes, I do rely on Medicare for bulk billing medicals because my only income is the old age pension. And I was wondering if the bulk billing method has stopped for everyone since the first of July.
    Costing me a lot of sacrifices I’m on a private health insurances fund for eventual hospitalization and for Extras, which a do need quite a bit of them. Nevertheless, there is always a big gap to pay for on top of the H. F. cover, though.

  5. J Taylor  

    After 70 years of great health the last three months have been a nightmare, for my husband, just the diagnostic tests have cost much more than our yearly pension. We do have private hospital cover but how would we have afforded to get just a diagnosis. Medicare is as essential as clean water and sewage to a nation. Cut the benifits to our has been politicians cut all the waste but health should never be cut. Between us my husband and I worked for 104 years and paid taxes we need health support now in our later years.

  6. Yes I do need Medicare Iam 66 year old pensioner . My daughter also needs Medicare with 3 children under 11 years of age . Medicare is the best thing to have in Australia especially now everything is so expensive how are we to manage health insurance in time when there is no money left for any thing but the essentials .

  7. Jess Potter  

    When they disband the committee they set up ,prior to the polls, to oversee the implementation of outsourcing Medicare, I will believe that they will leave it alone. They went to the polls with this under their belts and didn’t tell the media or the public about it. they were actually canvassing the idea of outsourcing Medicare before the polls and didn’t have the time to implement it.

    • Ray  

      ..outsourcing was to make Medicare more efficient and save money. What’s so wrong with that when you don’t know the facts yet?

  8. Simeon Apostolopoulos  

    Medicare should only be used for birth.. Healthy diet and lifestyle would eliminate all problems with health… Get plenty of sunshine and exercise for example walking and just mean well and live a meaningful life for the majority of the time and all will be alright and be good to your loved ones and friends.

    • Linda  

      Simeon, we grow and eat our own vegetables. I swim most days. We have a very healthy diet and lifestyle, but I still got breast cancer. This required many tests and specialist help, an operation, radiation, ongoing testing to make sure it doesn’t return. I did not cause this with a poor lifestyle. I need medicare.

  9. Ray  

    How about some fairness. The article includes ” meddle with Medicare ” then ” mess” with Medicare. How about the word” change” or make more efficient?. Not sensational enough?
    The country , that’s us, cannot afford the Medicare bill to jeep rising something has to happen. The Libs were looking at cutting costs of administration but the cheap, gutter politics of a desperate Bill Shorten stopped that.

    • David Koppman  

      The LNP has always opposed universal health care and will if allowed destroy it if for no other reason than it was not there idea.

  10. Harsh  

    So what is the real story behind Shellharbour hospital being privatised?

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