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Catholic Health welcomes Labor pledge to revive Medicare

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has given qualified support to Labor's Medicare package as outlined in last night's response to the Federal Budget by Opposition Leader Simon Crean.

Crean said in the speech: "Every Australian must have the right to access a doctor who bulk bills. And they must have the right to attend a well-funded public hospital without charge."

CHA CEO Francis Sullivan commented: "The ALP's Medicare package has the potential to stabilise bulk billing rates in the short term, but unless Medicare keeps pace with the real costs of care, doctor's fees will once again blow out."

While praising Labor's promise to lift the contribution from Medicare for bulk billed patients, he stressed CHA's view that "there is no justification for this not to apply across all patients".

"One thing is certain, if the extra funding promised in this ALP package fails to stem the decline in bulk billing and convince GPs to bulk bill, the Government's A Fairer Medicare package has less chance of working.

"Australians not only need the principles of Medicare adhered to, but the promise of affordable access to essential care fully funded," said Mr Sullivan. "Any decent minded Australian does not want a health system that is structured to potentially entrench less access for lower paid people who don't qualify for a concession card."

Catholic Health Australia

A New Deal For Australia And Australian Families - Budget Reply 2003
Catholic Health condemns 'indecent' budget (14/5/03)
Budget 2003-04

16 May 2003