The Greens have criticised changes to the Private Health Insurance Act 2007 which passed the Senate last night saying they set a dangerous precedent for how disabled people can access Private Health Insurance.
Under these changes Australian Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John, who is not yet a participant of the NDIS, would not be considered a disabled person.
Greens spokesperson on Health Senator Rachel Siewert said:
I am disappointed to see that the Government has succumbed to the pressure of private health insurers.
We can’t afford to leave it up to private health insurers to determine who is disabled under family policies.
This gives too much power to insurance companies who are driven by vested interests and profits.
Last night I moved an amendment to broaden the definition of a dependent person with a disability to align with the ABS definition of disability which was unfortunately not supported by the senate.
We will be closely watching the consequences of this change and I’m pleased Minster Hunt has a committed to review within two years. The details of which I tabled in the Senate last night.
Greens spokesperson on Disability Senator Jordon Steele-John said:
The definition of disability under this bill is problematic as it is very narrow, and only defines a person as disabled if they are a participant of the NDIS. If a definition of disability doesn’t include people like me then it is pretty obviously flawed!
For the very first time, participation in the NDIS is being used as a gateway to other services which sets a very dangerous precedent for disabled people.
Applying the definition of an NDIS participant will significantly restrict access to these changes, potentially leaving many disabled people without the health cover they need.
It is really disappointing to see that the Labor Party didn’t support our amendments to fix this flaw in the bill.
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180