Jun 21, 2016

Turnbull won’t ‘privatise’ Medicare, but he will destroy it

The Coalition's plan for Medicare is privatisation by another name, writes John Menadue, former head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Malcolm Turnbull says that the Coalition will “never, ever, privatise Medicare”. Given the wide public support for Medicare and Malcolm Turnbull’s way with words, his attempted rebuttal is not surprising.

But the Coalition has been eroding Medicare from within for a decade and a half since John Howard. The vehicle for this erosion is private health insurance (PHI), and the government is facilitating this process with the $11 billion p.a. taxpayer funded subsidy to support private health insurance.

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15 thoughts on “Turnbull won’t ‘privatise’ Medicare, but he will destroy it

  1. Barry Reynolds

    This sums it up perfectly. The libs have been trying to destroy Medicare since day one. They realise they can’t kill it off with one sweeping change so destroy it by a thousand cuts. The PHI rebate was done away with in (and don’t quote me on this) the 80’s. It took a liberal ferret to bring it back

    1. PaulM

      No Barry, there was no Government rebate on PHI premiums in the 1980’s. Premiums dropped in 1984 when Medicare was introduced, because PHI no longer had to (was precluded from) covering primary health care like GP visits. The rebate was introduced by Howard to provide something that would seem to be reducing health costs. Costs have grown since then. Yet another economic disaster foisted on us by the Party of better economic managers!

  2. klewso

    They’ll just eat it from the inside out.

  3. graybul

    John, thank you. A very thought provoking and worrying comment. Why is it that Conservatives, despite the evidence of viewing the deeply unfair and inequitable American health system are hell bent in dismantling ours in favour of a failed, fractured system?

    Of course it is both greed and an ideological mantra that precludes concern for others. As I move into the latter years of ageing I become more conscious and reliant upon a fair and functional health system. Yet despite a professional life involved in community care inclusive of all generational needs and life experiences now find myself no more or less equipped to ameliorate the circumstance of daily challenge faced by my ageing cohort. Conclusion being that despite experience and well founded values my generation cannot share, identify or easily embrace the practical realities and values currently espoused by those who desire the destruction of a world class Australian health system.

  4. Dog's Breakfast

    That $11b subsidy would go down well in the public health system, I would imagine.

    The underlying ideology, that the private sector is so much more efficient than the public sector, has no better rebuttal than the health services industry. The USA health system is an abomination. Working our way towards through the death of a thousand cuts is mind-bogglingly stupid policy.

  5. Andrew McIntosh

    Classic Lib tactics. Rather than abolishing outright, they make state institutions that actually help people as unworkable as possible.

  6. AR

    We can be as confident of the survival of Medicare as we were for that of its predecessor, Medibank under Frazer.
    It’s in their DNA.

  7. CML

    There are NO private hospitals or health funds in Canada…yet all my friends and relatives over there are completely satisfied with the health care they receive.
    Why doesn’t the Labor party have a very good look at their system?
    As someone who spent the best part of fifty years working in the healthcare system in three countries, I believe that Medicare MUST be maintained and the public system enhanced. Even if that means outlawing private health insurance.

  8. leon knight

    I can afford PHI but have never used it on principle, I keep faith in Medicare and will always take my chances with the public system.
    Thanks for the insights John, I will take this issue up with my local Labor member Stephen Jones.

  9. Duncan Gilbey

    The Coalition will “never, ever, privatise Medicare” in the same way they would “never, ever” introduce a GST.

  10. Beverley Gillan

    Who would have thought just 3 years ago the LNP would not have it’s elected Prime Minster, it’s elected Deputy Prime Minister and it’s elected Treasurer.
    And the LNP are trying to convince me that they won’t destroy Medicare.
    “It’s Time” to throw this mob out. Abbott and the right wing of the party have destroyed the LNP for years to come. This election is all about trust and no one trusts the LNP anymore.
    Bye Bye

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