Monday, 22 May 2017
Questions without Notice
We are guaranteeing private health insurance. They ripped over $2 billion out of the PBS; we have just invested $1.8 billion in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. They ripped $660 million out of Medicare for doctors. We are ending the very thaw that they began, and we are doing that with $1 billion being invested into Medicare indexation. We are doing that with $2.4 billion going directly into Medicare as part of a broader $10 billion national long-term health plan. So there is real action to restore and take steps to improve our health scheme.
We are also guaranteeing Medicare with the Medicare Guarantee Fund, which, under law, will ensure that the first call on the budget is Medicare. And two things go into that: general taxes and the Medicare levy. The Medicare levy is the first 1½ per cent of the Medicare and NDIS levy. Because of decisions taken by the previous government, half of that goes to support the NDIS. But that only ever went part of the way. What we have seen, and what the Treasurer has shown, is that there is a $55 billion black hole. As we made the decision to support extending the Medicare levy, we presumed that there would be bipartisan support; most on that side presumed it too. But I have to say that, as I opened up The Age today—the large print edition—