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Government must make Medicare and the MBS fit for the 21st Century

The Greens say that the Medicare Benefits Schedule task force final report is a clear indication that lack of agility and innovation has meant that parts of our Medicare system are no longer fit for purpose. 
 
This report is a wakeup call that our medical system needs to adapt to meet the needs of our population and ensure that it is accessible to everyone and that it is not being exploited by private companies. 
 
Australia prides itself on having a world leading healthcare system, but that won’t be the case if we don't invest in the future. 
 
Medicare costs should be efficient, but there’s also choice about what we spend money on. Instead of giving private health insurance rebates and tax breaks for super wealthy and big corporations we could be investing in our Medicare system. 
 
The Government’s proposed measures for transparency on out of pocket costs do nothing practical to reduce those costs, it may just end up discouraging people from accessing the services they need but can’t afford.
 
We should be reducing out of pocket costs by providing for an expanded public health system rather than privatisation by stealth. 
 
We need systemic reform so that medical professionals are incentivised to treat the whole person and not just churn people through the system. 
 
Primary care research including preventive health research is poorly valued, and is essential to reshaping our health system for the future.
 
We also need to invest heavily in our aged care system. It is being reported that the Government will announce an aged care funding commitment of over $1 billion as part of MYEFO tomorrow. 
 
An additional 10,000 home care packages is a good start but much more is needed if we are to meet the target of just a month wait for a package before end of the next year. 
 
The other parts of this leaked announcement were already announced as part of the Government’s response to the Royal Commission’s Covid report including $63.3m for allied health and mental health services, and $11.1m for the serious incident response scheme. 
 

Media Contact
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180

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