AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said today that the Government’s MYEFO statement is another chapter in the Coalition’s consistent health policy – cut health funding and shift costs to patients. The AMA also are concerned that the Government’s original ill-fated co-payment proposal from the 2014 Budget is being resurrected. Professor Owler said “It is yet another co-payment by stealth.”
Professor Owler pointed out that the poorest and the sickest will be hit the hardest due to the axing of the bulk billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging. He also stated that the cuts will increase the health cost burden for Australian families.
“The Government is continuing to retreat from its core responsibilities in providing access to affordable, quality health services for the Australian people.” stated Professor Owler.
“The AMA strongly opposes these measures, and we will be encouraging the Senate to disallow them.”
Other key MYEFO cut to health include:
•the abolition of the National Hospital Performance Authority (NHPA) and its highly valued health reporting arrangements;
•the abolition of the National Health Funding Body and Funding Pool (the death of activity based funding?);
•on the plus side, there is extra money for the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Program, which supports clinical training in rural areas; and
• $93.8 million is flagged for an integrated medical training pathway for rural areas, a concept lobbied for by the AMA.