Raising Medicare Levy Deal Will Hurt Families: AMA

by VR Sreeraman on Oct 18 2008 1:25 PM

AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, today said the decision by Senators to raise the thresholds for the Medicare Levy Surcharge will create a pressure-cooker environment for patients and families across Australia.

The Government today announced that it had agreed with independent Senators to raise income thresholds for paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge to $70,000 for individuals and $140,000 for couples.

“This change will only put added pressure on Australian families who are already struggling to keep their private health cover and the choice in healthcare that it provides,” Dr Capolingua said.

Private health insurance premiums will almost certainly rise as a result of today’s decision, she said.

“It will also put our public hospitals under pressure as more patients are forced to drop private health insurance and rely solely on the public system.

“There is already a deficiency of at least 3,750 public hospital beds across the nation, with added pressure this system will further crumble.

“Today’s changes mean that, over time, choice in health care will potentially become unaffordable for an entire generation of Australians.

“The net result will be harm to the very people this measure is designed to help.”