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Labor embraces vision of Catholic Health


Australian Labor Party leader Mark Latham was well received when he visited Brisbane's Mater Hospital yesterday, a day after he announced his multi-billion dollar Medicare Gold policy to give Australians over 75 free access to a public or private hospital bed.

The policy announcement, which followed heavy lobbying of the major parties by Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan, was described by ABC TV's Lateline last night as "Mr Sullivan's brainchild".

A report in today's Sydney Morning Herald explained that Sullivan "struck pay dirt after Labor borrowed heavily from a policy he has been developing for the best part of five years with a former Health Department chief, Stephen Duckett".

Catholic Healthcare is Australia's largest supplier of private health care, representing 25% of the sector.

Reporting from the Brisbane Mater, the ABC's Alexandra Kirk said the hospital was claiming it has "the capacity to do another 6,500 admissions across the board, and also capacity to expand beyond that, and that Mark Latham's plan would increase investment in hospital care, that hospitals would see this in their interests to do so, and that they'd also be able to attract more doctors and nurses".

Prime Minister John Howard and Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott were both claiming that Medicare Gold would not work.

Abbott told the ABC's PM: "Labor don't know how much this is going to cost, they've costed it at $1.7 billion, but the actual cost of paying for the hospital care of every 75-year-old and above in Australia is $4 billion a year, it's not $1.7 billion a year, so on any reasonable costing estimate, Mr Latham is about $2 billion short."

Mr Sullivan claimed he had received positive assurances after he had put the concept to Mr Abbott several weeks ago, but the Minister described his own response as merely "polite".

SOURCE
Catholic Healthcare supports Medicare Gold (ABC Radio The World Today 30/9/04)
Praise God and pass the health-care ammunition (Sydney Morning Herald 1/10/04)
Voters won't buy Medicare Gold, says Abbott (ABC TV Lateline 30/9/04)
Tony Abbott denies having approved of Medicare Gold concept (ABC Radio PM 30/9/04)

LINKS
Catholic Health Australia | Election Package
Medicare Gold: Guaranteed health care for older Australians (Australian Labor Party -- Election Policy)
In an elderly bastion, health is a big decider (The Australian 1/10/04)
Private hospitals go for Gold (The Australian 1/10/04)
Paul Kelly: Gold plan won't buy a room: PM (The Australian 1/10/04)
Same idea was put to Abbott (The Australian 1/10/04)
Health groups predict scheme to lift quality of care (The Australian 1/10/04)
Medicare Gold could hurt younger, sicker patients (Sydney Morning Herald 1/10/04)
Who really pays for the nation's health? (Sydney Morning Herald 1/10/04)
Private hospitals go for Medicare Gold (Sydney Morning Herald 1/10/04)
Medicare Gold gives Latham campaign momentum (ABC TV 7:30 Report 30/9/04)
Editorial: Labor's big pitch on elderly health care (The Age 1/10/04)
Private hospitals back Medicare Gold (The Age 1/10/04)
Gold-class treatment for lobbyist (The Age 1/10/04)
Thomas Faunce: Fending off privatisation (The Age 1/10/04)
Tony Abbott denies having approved of Medicare Gold concept (ABC Radio PM 30/9/04)
Gallop welcomes Medicare Gold policy (ABC Perth 30/9/04)
Labor misses policy costing date (Herald-Sun 30/9/04)
Latham health plan a risk: Costello (Seven News/AAP 30/9/04)
Older Australians divided over Medicare Gold (ABC Radio The World Today 30/9/04)
Don't scrap health insurance, PM warns (Sydney Morning Herald/AAP 30/9/04)
Catholic Healthcare supports Medicare Gold (ABC Radio The World Today 30/9/04)
PM: Medicare Gold a hoax (ABC Radio The World Today 30/9/04)
Hospital runs at well over capacity (ABC Illawarra 30/9/04)
Medicare Gold a winner: Bracks (news.com.au/AAP 30/9/04)
Latham promotes Medicare Gold (ABC Radio PM 30/9/04)
Tony Abbott denies having approved of Medicare Gold concept (ABC Radio PM 30/9/04)
Voters won't buy Medicare Gold, says Abbott (ABC TV Lateline 30/9/04)
Latham wins backing for Medicare Gold policy (ABC TV Lateline 30/9/04)
Medicare Gold gives Latham campaign momentum (ABC TV 7:30 Report 30/9/04)
PM tipped to make policy announcement (Seven News/AAP 30/9/04)
Doctors say system a pain (The Australian 1/10/04)
Trading places on the health care hustings (Sydney Morning Herald 1/10/04)
Medicare Gold: Guaranteed Health Care For Older Australians (ACTU 30/9/04)
Paddy on media's Latham drooling (crikey.com.au 30/9/04)
Age no bar for swingers (The Australian 1/10/04)
Help for seniors 'not enough' (The Advertiser/AAP 29/9/04)
Plan will boost ACT hospitals: Corbell (Canberra Times 30/9/04)
Strong Catholic Health support for Labor's Medicare Gold Card (CathNews 30/9/04)
Latham buys the grey vote (The Australian 30/9/04)
Health groups welcome Labor plan (Herald-Sun 29/9/04)
Health industry gives its approval for Labor's health policy (ABC Radio PM 29/9/04)
Mental Health Needs More (Catholic Health Australia 29/9/04)
Coalition Dementia Package Welcomed (Catholic Health Auustralia 27/9/04)


31 Oct 2004