No need for health cuts - Mr Abbott

Media Release (Federal Office)

New figures revealing the lowest growth in Australia’s health spending in 30 years show why the Abbott Government must stop its savage cuts to the national health budget and abandon plans to introduce co-payments for basic health services, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) said today.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) data, total national spending on health goods and services grew by just 1.5 per cent in 2012-13 – the lowest since the mid-80’s.

ANMF Assistant Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, said the figures made a mockery of the Government’s claims that health spending was out of control and the justification for the introduction of a user-pays health system.

“As we have been explaining since the Budget was announced in May, Mr Abbott has been spinning Australians the line that Medicare is unsustainable, but the figures from the AIHW today prove that simply isn’t the case,” Ms Butler said.

“The Government can no longer say co-payments for GP visits, pharmaceuticals and other health services are needed to send a price signal and control costs. The fact is that growth in health spending is at record low levels, the lowest in more than 30 years, and costs are already being contained. If we want to continue in this direction, Mr Abbott must keep his hands off Medicare. Australia already has one of the highest out of pocket costs ($1075 per year) for healthcare in the world – and it will only get worse if the Government destroys our successful system of universal healthcare and pushes more costs on to individual health consumers and their families.

“The AIHW report strengthens the resolve of the ANMF and other health professionals in continuing to campaign against any co-payments and health cuts for the sake of all Australians.”