Catholic Health backs Labor safety net

Catholic Health Australia has called Labor's surprise adoption of the Coalition's Medicare safety net a "sensible decision".

The ALP announced its change of policy at the weekend. In the past it has criticised the safety net. But Labor now concedes the policy has its benefits because of rising health costs.

Catholic Health CEO Francis Sullivan has argued the safety net should not only be retained, but made more attractive to low-income families.

He said in a statement yesterday: "The use of safety nets to bolster household budgets is very common in the health system. However, as health costs are rising by double the CPI, the safety nets are too elusive for too many Australians."

He added that it's time the safety nets are returned to the levels they were at the 2004 election.

"Australians voted for safety nets that were achievable only to find them raised within three months of the poll."

Mr Sullivan said both sides of politics need to "do more than promise widespread cash relief, they need to deliver it".

"In a recent Catholic Health Australia commissioned Newspoll, up to 46% of Australians said they were worried about the costs of medical care and nearly 20% said they were very worried."

"Even more disturbing was the fact that people who were renting were three times more likely not to have visited a doctor or medical specialist due to cost compared to people who have paid off their home mortgage."

Catholic Health Australia represents the largest grouping of non-government health and aged care providers.

Medicare safety nets must catch more (Catholic Health Australia, Media Release, 24/9/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Health Australia

Renters more likely to postpone doctor visits: Catholic Health finds (CathNews, 12/9/07)

25 Sep 2007