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Proposed changes signal end of Medicare

A move by the Federal Government to introduce gap insurance for doctors' fees would threaten the universality of Medicare, Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan said on Friday.

In responding to media reports about proposed changes to bulk billing and the introduction of gap insurance, Mr Sullivan said universality was "a founding principle of Medicare".

"We would be moving to Medicare Mark II - just as the Fraser Government did when they dismantled Medibank in the 1970s and 1980s," he said. "This proposal would institutionalise better access for the fortunate and well-off, and change the system of bulk billing from a reasonable expectation for most, to a flimsy hope for some.

"In five years, the Fraser Government, introduced seven different health schemes, until finally Medibank was abolished.

"The signs are already there. First, there are penalties to force higher income earners into private health insurance - as occurred in Medibank Mark II. But the proposal for gap insurance is counterproductive. It is an old idea which will inflate health costs and not necessarily deliver better quality or improved access to care.

Catholic Health Australia

Catholic Health Australia">Catholic Health Australia | Canberra Update

7 Apr 2003