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Catholic Health supports Democrats call for Govt rethink on pharmaceutical cuts

Catholic Health Australia has joined the Australian Democrats in their call for the Government to amend the private health insurance rebate to make the proposed budget savings, rather than impose cuts to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Speaking at yesterday's launch of CHA's policy agenda for the next 12 months, Chief Executive Officer, Francis Sullivan said: "The PBS cuts are a blunt instrument which overestimate savings, worsen health outcomes and increase other health and welfare costs."

"Removing the 30% private health insurance rebate from ancillary only health insurance will save over $300 million a year, and does not undermine the purpose of the rebate," he said. "People will still have the opportunity to buy discounted hospital insurance, relieving the pressure on the public hospital system."

Mr Sullivan pointed out that CHA has always argued that the only justifiable increase on drug charges should be paid by the well off and prosperous, without tampering with the safety nets and imposing extra burdens on families and chronically ill people.

"Already low income families spend over 3 times as much of their income on pharmaceuticals than is the average for the rest of the community."

The call was contained in Speaking with One Voice, CHA's policy agenda for the next 12 months, which was released yesterday. The policy also contains a suggestion for the introduction of an Aged Care Benefit Schedule.

The policy agenda, outlined at a press briefing in Canberra yesterday, focuses on six major policy areas:

Meeting the cost of health and aged care
Enhancing quality of life for the elderly
Ensuring health care is a service
Improving the care of the dying
Improving care for people with a mental illness
Private Health Insurance

A copy of the Agenda will be distributed at the launch and is available from CHA, phone: 02 6239 7633.

Catholic Health Australia
Catholic Health Australia Advocacy Agenda Launch (transcript)
Speaking with One Voice, CHA's policy agenda (coming soon to this page)


19 Jun 2002