Media release

Time to ‘end the uncertainty’ of Government’s bad health policies

AMA President, A/Prof Brian Owler, today congratulated Prime Minister Tony Abbott on seeing off a leadership spill vote, and called for an urgent meeting to discuss the Government’s unpopular health policies.

A/Prof Owler said it was significant that one of the major messages coming from the Prime Minister’s media conference and the Coalition party room was the need for the Government to consult closely with the medical profession on the controversial Medicare reforms that are hurting the Government.

“The Prime Minister said that ‘good government starts today’. Good health policy must also start today,” A/Prof Owler said.

“It is time to end the uncertainty about the Government’s Medicare plans.

“The Prime Minister must ditch the disastrous Medicare co-payment model, the $5 cut to the Medicare patient rebate, and the freeze on Medicare rebate indexation until 2018.

“Coalition members know that these policies are hurting the Government at the local level across the country.

“Voters want health policies that improve access to health care, not policies that make it harder and more expensive to see a doctor.

“Doctors want to provide quality care to their patients and communities, and do not want the viability of their practices threatened.

“The AMA held doctor forums in several States yesterday and the message from grassroots GPs was clear – the Government must scrap its potentially destructive Medicare changes. All of them.”

A/Prof Owler said it is clear from reports coming out of this morning’s party room meeting that poor health policy was a significant factor in bringing on the leadership spill ballot.

“Good health policy will restore confidence in the Government’s leadership and in the Government’s public standing,” A/Prof Owler said.

“The AMA is ready to engage with the Government to develop health policies that will ensure quality health service provision to the Australian community for the long term.

“As AMA President, I am available immediately to start the good health policy conversation with the Prime Minister,” A/Prof Owler said.


9 February 2015

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