AMA calls on PM to fix Medicare

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Tony Abbott may have survived the ‘near death experience’ of seeing off a leadership spill, but his own party has expressed to him, in no uncertain terms, that he is now ‘on notice’ to lift his game.

In response, Mr Abbott yesterday pledged that ‘good government starts today’ – and Australian Medical Association (AMA) President, Associate Professor Brian Owler, believes that a priority for the Government’s rehabilitation should be to review its unpopular health policies.

The AMA President has pressed upon the Prime Minister the need to consult closely with the medical profession on the controversial Medicare reforms – the handling of which to date has scarred the Government’s reputation in the eyes of voters.

“The Prime Minister said that ‘good government starts today’. Good health policy must also start today,” Owler said. “It is time to end the uncertainty about the Government’s Medicare plans.

“The Prime Minister must ditch the disastrous Medicare co-payment model, the $5 cut to the Medicare patient rebate, and the freeze on Medicare rebate indexation until 2018. Coalition members know that these policies are hurting the Government at the local level across the country.

“Voters want health policies that improve access to health care, not policies that make it harder and more expensive to see a doctor.

“Doctors want to provide quality care to their patients and communities, and do not want the viability of their practices threatened.

“The AMA held doctor forums in several States yesterday and the message from grassroots GPs was clear – the Government must scrap its potentially destructive Medicare changes. All of them.”

Apart from many other factors, such as the Queensland election result, the PM’s back-flipping on his paid parental leave scheme, and the knighthood for Prince Philip, it seems clear to many that the Government’s poor health policy was a major catalyst for the leadership spill ballot.

“Good health policy will restore confidence in the Government’s leadership and in the Government’s public standing,” Owler said. “The AMA is ready to engage with the Government to develop health policies that will ensure quality health service provision to the Australian community for the long term.

“As AMA President, I am available immediately to start the good health policy conversation with the Prime Minister,” Associate Professor Owler said.

Read the media release

Opinion: A good place to start

Mr Abbott has survived a potential leadership spill and has vowed to change his ways in order to better serve Australians. Reviewing his disastrous health policy seems a good place to start.

Since its introduction with the Federal Budget, the poor handling of the proposed changes to Medicare has been an obvious black mark against the Government. This issue affects all Australians – young and old – and if Mr Abbott wants to redeem himself in the eyes of voters, scrapping the Medicare proposals could do wonders for his reputation.

If the PM can somehow fix this problem, his stocks would no doubt improve in the eyes of his constituents, and that surely should be a priority for his flailing administration. Solving the Medicare issue also gives the PM a chance to prove that he can ‘socialise’ policy, by actually consulting with the health-care sector for the best possible outcome – a sustainable health system. It would also go a long way towards the PM regaining voter confidence and solidifying his role as a trustworthy leader of our country.

The Federal Government – and all Australians – will undoubtedly benefit from a rehabilitated health policy. Here’s hoping Mr Abbott can come through with the goods.

What do you think? If the Government scrapped its proposed changes to Medicare, would it give you renewed confidence in the current administration? Do you think fixing the Medicare issue should be a priority for the Government? Or do you think Mr Abbott faces bigger problems than healing our health system?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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156 Comments

Total Comments: 156
  1. 0
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    It wasn’t Brocken until they started Playing with it !! ..
    Frank Spencer…

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      Don’t expect anything other than marking time until the next election is done and dusted. It is clear that this leopard has no intention of changing its spots. As much came out after the spill vote.

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    The mad monk hasn’t promised to change his ways to benefit the electorate, he’s promised to change his ways to benefit himself.

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    Our PM Abbott must change the policy that was effected a few years back now making it harder and very difficult for retired pensioners to be in a health fund (I think it was year 2001?) when the Government put a massive increase to the levy medical funds (its was not done by Health funds)but the dam government………….example….. We were in a health fund for 40 years (due to change in our finances we pulled out of the fund)……. and we wanted to rejoin?…..the massive levy was place….. on pensioners wanting to join again regardless……….. how many years you were a member of a fund…………..we are all being punished by our by our government…………..PM Abbott go back to the drawing board and take away the Levy that was placed on these funds……..so pensioners can afford a health fund too………..politicians are a bloody disgrace.

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      Agreed, well put.

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      Bes, glad that you understood what I was trying to say. cheers Tia

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      tia-maria the levy was imposed on everyone not just ‘retirees’. There was a grace period that was intended to encourage those who had either left the funds in the past or who had never had private insurance to sign up with no penalty. And many did.
      If you ‘missed the boat’ that is a shame but hardly the Government punishing you or anyone else. And by the way, it was the Labor Government who reduced the government subsidy on the premiums. Where is your criticism of that?

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      KSS………..This a typical comment from you KSS……….health funds use to run their own health funds until the government took over………..yes KSS it has made it very difficult for retired pensioners to be in a fund ……..bloody politicians don’t give a dam in hell about us……….regardless if we Liberal or Labor party….they only look after themselves……………are you in one???????

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      A health fund tia-maria? Yes as it happens and I make sacrifices to do so.

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      Well KSS all depends on your situation at the time you drop out of a fund……..but to be punished for doing so and wanting to fully cover again as one situation changes is a different kettle of fish……….ps I am in Silver benefits never use it but would be happy to be fully covered again.(at a cost that’s affordable)………….KSS do some home work mate and check out the cost to re-join a fund……..you be dam shocked.

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      2% per year over the age of 30 to a maximum loading of 70%. Oh and you can opt out for up to three years without penalty. I already know mate!

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      KSS you take the cake……………….

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      Wer’e on a Hunger Strike !!

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      parti, I’ll join your hunger strike as soon as I finish my pizza, salad and desert!

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      tia, are you using the money you saved for the cancellation of the Carbon tax to defray the cost of visiting the doctor?

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      Well if Tia is like Me we haven’t seen any Change Yet ?? The CEO of the Power Company must have bought an Havana with it ?? !!

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      GeeZ parti i would be giving your Power company the flick, cause i noticed the change ages and ages ago………could be he did buy a Havana with it, i’d be chasing it down if i was you ??? lol

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      Yes, you are right Tia Maria.
      Private Health did run their own cover for all medical expenses and gaps werevery low. I can remember going to our fund’s office, putting in the claims and getting paid cash straight away. That will never happen now. Too much security risk for large claims

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      Blossom .. I can remember the same Even though I don’t visit the Doctor very often at all ! But when I did I took it to the Medicare Office here ( When we had one) and was paid Not Much Less Than The Bill !! OK !! 🙂

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      PS.. I think it is incorporated in the Centrelink Building now ?

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    Finally, the AMA want to be constructive. This is very good news!

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      The AMA President is a Professor Owler?
      Hope he is as wise as.
      I’m sure he will be.
      Yes the washing is being hung out to dry as we speak, and it will finish clean, spick and span.
      I have confidence.

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      The problem with the AMA is that they don’t actually represent the majority of GPs. The AMA is a membership association and it is not compulsory for GPs to be members. Many GPs left the organisation because the AMA does not consult or even inform its membership of its activities. The AMA secretly went to the Government with its own co-payment proposal that its own members knew nothing about and when they found out, did not support.

      Lets hope that the spirit of consultation and co-operation will surface among all parties. And yes, that includes the consumers of health services.

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      This is a government that won’t change until they are told in no uncertain terms by the electorate. They are a conservative government. They don’t consult because they are born to rule. They will give it lip service for a while, then it’s business as usual. It’s been that way as long as I can remember and I don’t see them changing. They are manipulators not creators. Abbott is good at bashing, but building is not in his DNA.

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      Pleased to see it’s being hung out to dry Willie. Often those electric dryers get stuck on the spin cycle.

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      And washing the clothes in the creek and beating them all on a rock the “Clean and Green way” isn’t much good in the rain.

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      Don’t Dink out of The Ganges River !! :-<

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    I agree that the Health System should be fixed as a matter of urgency. Health matters generally affect those most vulnerable the parents with young ones and the Senior section of the community who may never have had a real health problem but as we age these matters come into play.
    Let us certainly enter into discussion with the health Providers but please do not give them control or we may never be able to afford healthcare. After all the medical profession is now a business not a community service. Staff need to be paid a good wage not an outstanding wage, hospitals need to be built and staffed and specialist services need to have their ability to restrict the number of speciality providers curtailed.
    Lets hope the new Abbott is up to these discussions.

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    Australian Professional Politicians must realize that they are elected by democratic process to ‘MANAGE’ our country and it’s assets.
    They must be prepared to ‘manage’ Australia, both Federal and State, to the very best of their ability in the very BEST interests of the electorate.
    And NOT to levitate to a position of power and completely lose touch with the people of Australia and their needs and wishes.
    Our political system can be used solely to accomplish a ‘feathered nest’ by negative people who write good speeches and for little accomplishment.
    We do not mind paying a good reward to the right people and fully understand that you only get what you pay for, or vote for!
    The running of 6 state governments, put into place by England in the 1800’s, comes at phenomenal cost, with differing laws, police forces and ideologies which result in overall difficulties and therefore COST to the running of the country.
    The old adage of ‘don’t fix it if it ain’t broken’ is now dated and uneconomical.
    The discussion of Australia becoming a Republic should be put squarely on the table in order to design a new Constitution, based upon the economics and management of Australia and it’s government.

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    As far as I see it and that means experience of the system it is mostly caused by the well healed and paid. The director of our local hospital lied to my daughter when she questioned the goings on in emergency when I was rushed to hospital and they would niot listen to me when I asked if the would xray my back after having fallen. They said there was no need to & sent me home complete with several broken bones in my back. Enem though they had been told by my doctor & reminded by me that I had been recently diagnosed with Osteoporosis.Who made this decision not to xray me? The person in charge or just a nurse. Our hospital has been adverting for a few years for a doctor to be on call to the hospital nut no such luck.

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      pate, our nursing system is out of control………….., bring back the old system and training back on the wards,…………..(unfortunately with all the cut backs by politicians is a bloody disgrace) to save dollars and not lives

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      Pate, your experience is inexcusable, but until there is local management of hospitals, as it was when I was young, I fear many more will suffer the same fate.

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      Whilst I sympathise with your experience I must take issue with the phrase “The person in charge or just a nurse”. I find that to be insulting in the extreme. No one is ‘just’ anything e.g. ‘just’ a housewife, ‘just’ a teacher….. Would you say ‘just’ a Doctor? No I thought not.

      The fact is the nurse would not have had the authority to order x-rays (or not as the case may be) in the emergency department of a hospital. To be critical of the nurse in question is simply an injustice.

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      KSS……….regardless mate even if a nurse in 1styear or 4th trained no one knows these days unfortunately the uniforms of today says enough………BUT in the early day we knew who our Sisters……who were the Nurses by the stripes on the caps ……these days you don’t know who is who……….NO THANKS TO THE POLITICIANS WHO ARE NOT JUST RUNNING OUR COUNTRY INTO THE GROUND…… BUT……..OUR HOSPITALS AS WELL……AND THE WAY NURSES ARE BEING TRAINED?????………..KSS how many times have you been a patient in hospital over the last few years………….I could put some grey hairs on your head to make them stand up,

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      As it happens tia-maria and not that it is any of your business, but yes I have been in hospital in the last few years – for unexpected, emergency, life-saving surgery not of my own making and treated in a mixed gender ward in a public hospital whilst paying private hospital cover fees.

      I have nothing but praise for ALL the staff from the cleaning crew, the kitchen staff, the nurses, the nursing trainees (some of whom were more empathetic than the experienced nurses) to the specialists.

      The Royal College of Nursing – NOT a Government department sets the standards for nursing training. Nurses these days are university graduates and most are more than competent.

      But just as there are awful patients there are poor medical professionals as there are in all fields. Nevertheless, no one deserves to be referred to as ‘just a …’ and that was my point.

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      KSS…no mate none of my business in a fund but one thing is for sure ??? you have no idea what it would cost to re-join today??? that saddens me that you don’t understand other people in more difficult situation …..than maybe yours…….. but gee mate you were a lucky man being treated at the highest standards???………….do some home work stop being so blinded.

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      tia-maria: As I posted above: 2% per year over the age of 30 to a maximum loading of 70%. Oh and you can opt out for up to three years without penalty. I already know mate!

      Yes treated at the highest standards in a PUBLIC HOSPITAL. But then perhaps it comes down to respect. I respected all those who had some involvement in my stay regardless of their role or status. I repeat; the point of the post above was about NOT referring to anyone as ‘just a…” That is disrespectful and insulting.

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      KSS you have been everywhere and done everything, you lucky fellow. You’re obviously very wealthy and very poor. You have experienced the worst situations and the best. In fact you are just like everyone else except that all your experiences are opposite to everyone else’s. Very strange???

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      Perhaps Paulodpotter it is not a case of what experiences you have but how you react to them that is the difference between us. People can be a negative Nancy if they like. I choose not to be.

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      hey Paulodapotter ……………at least mate we can have a laugh? at some comments?

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      Sure does Help when Dads the Head Surgeon !! 🙂

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      This sounds like a middle management bureaucrat in the hospital system that made the decision to send you home. As far as tia maria’s rant about the politicians running everything in Australia into the ground, perhaps she can tell us why Rudd and Gillard borrowed so much money from China and left nothing in the till except an IOU pile when they left. This leaves bugger all for Australia’s other expenses after the present government has to pay $11Billion per year to just pay off the interest owing.

      And some of our people can’t wait to get rid of Abbott and his efforts to repay Labor’s debt to China So what will Bill Shorten do about fixing Medicare and our health and system if he becomes PM in 2016? How will Bill Shorten and his Labor cronies pay back the money owed to China and clean up the financial mess their policies caused between 2007 1bd 2013? Ask your selves how you think Shorten will do this, and remember to be careful in what you wish/vote for, you just might get three years of it until 2019.

  8. 0
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    Abbott must partner with the AMA public hospitals and Private Health Funds to ensure affordable care for all Australians. Many of us living on a limited income struggle to pay for private health insurance to ensure access and choice, health insurance is becoming unaffordable for retirees.

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      Fully agree, well put.

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      Lets not make everything a retiree issue when it comes to affordable private health insurance. It is becoming unaffordable for the single working person with no children too. You have to remember that not everyone working has a bigger income than a retiree. But their premiums are increasing on the back of paying for others e.g. other people’s children and the ‘oldies’ who need to access care more frequently. The rebate has been wound back and with the predicted increase in premiums this year there will be many working singles who will seriously consider dropping out altogether. That, in turn, will increase costs for the funds and put more strain on the public health system.

      The bigger issue that does affect retirees, is that premiums in that age group rise at higher rates than the younger age groups. As an example, last year the ‘reported’ increase in premiums was about 6%. For those over 55 the average increase was well over 9% regardless of whether they made claims or not. It is the lack of equity in the rate of increase that should be the real focus not simply that private health insurance is unaffordable for retirees on the basis they are retirees. Perhaps there should be a sort of no claims bonus in place much like car insurance. Then if you don’t claim, you get a discount.

      And one more thing, private health insurance does not cover GP visits (except for a couple of trials in QLD). So making private health insurance more accessible would not change the medicare affordability issues in visiting a GP, having blood-tests etc etc that may or may not be bulk-billed and may or may not attract a co-payment.

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      KSS……….first are you a retired pensioner?? as Your Choice Life is all about us??????and what is good for the retired pensioners. rest my case

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      tia-maria, Maaate! Perhaps you would do well to read the About Us page which describes the readership this site is aimed at. I think you will find it is not exclusively for the retired pensioner. Then rest your case.

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      KSS rest your case…………..Well I can see why?? I don’t think your as old as us ………and that you don’t understand other retired pensioners that struggle big times…………..

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      tia-maria perhaps you would like to re-read the second paragraph of my post in this section and then tell me exactly what you disagree with. I have even offered a possible solution to the affordability issue which you have conveniently ignored in your haste to denigrate me. Disagree by all means but stop making this personal.

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      KSS……….time out mate

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      Dear KSS, your quote: (their premiums are increasing on the back of paying for others e.g. other people’s children and the ‘oldies’ who need to access care more frequently.) end quote.
      Yes the premiums are increasing and us oldies do have a need.
      That is what we have been paying in for all these years, but now that we have reached the age that we planned for, the ‘want it all now’ crowd find it objectionable.
      In the 60’s and 70’s most people paid private and there were no waiting lists, private or public.
      Along came Medicare and we paid our levy and our private health.
      Well suck it up mate, it won’t be any easier when its YOUR time!
      Your credit card won’t look after you in your older years…everyone pays….as you will find out!

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      Bes, well said mate

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      Affordable care to Abbott would be a wipe of mothers spit and a band-aid.
      Abbott was the Health Minister that buggered the system under Howard.

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    it is not in their DNA, he may lay low for a while, but heaven save us if they are here for another term

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      Spot on Ray. Once a congenital liar, always a congenital liar. This is not about ‘change’. It is about getting re-elected and then business as usual.

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      I’m sure they are only relenting on some issues now because they have PLANS for the next term.
      MORE CLEVER DECEPTION ON THE WAY????

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      Its not the Next term I’m worried about its the Time they have left for the Whatever Ground work in this one ?? I think this is the Set It Up Boys Term ?? 🙁

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      Be careful what you wish/vote for in 2016.

      Do you want a return to Labor’s policies brought in by Kevin07 and his once faithful companion Julia in allowing boat people back in at taxpayers expense, borrowing more money from China and sinking the country even deeper into debt so our great great grandchildren will still be paying it off? The beauty of democracy is that the voters get what they deserve.

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      If you are touting for a return to Labor in 2016, consider this. Imagine that you inherit a pile of money and blow it all in six years while borrowing eight times that amount with no hope of repaying it. Most people would call you a fool or worse. Yet that is what Kevin07 and Julia did when they were in power from 2007 until 2013. Some people choose to ignore and deny that simple fact and want to return the Labor mob. Cal Abbott stupid if you will, but what do you call someone that wants to reward Labor to government?

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      Wally wake up your devoted Liberals are going hill big times……….and also stop blaming the Labor for every thing……..and as far as I am concern I don’t trust any politicians what so ever

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      Whatsoever Whatsoever whatsoever !!! 🙂

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      I’m not blaming Labor for everything, tia. Just their overspending, putting Australia so deeply into debt, denying that their stupidity in doing so and then fighting tooth and nail to prevent the current govt from repaying Labor’s debt before it gets any worse. If you do not trust Shorten so much, why don’t you say so? After all Kevin 07 couldn’t trust him!

  10. 0
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    yep it aint broke so dont mess with it!…

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      Let us all get someone else to pay!

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      And pay. Who will pay? Our grand kida and their kids thru their taxes.
      So when you thank Kevin 07 for your stimulus payment, free ceiling insulation, your free tv set top box and the chance to connect to the NBN, thank your kids because they are the ones left footing the bill through the taxes they will be paying.

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      Do You think You worry too much Wal ?? You’ll give Yourself Ulcers !! :-(..
      Let Joe get them !! And You go and have a Nice Cold Beer !! 🙂

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      parti, I don’t think I’m going to give myself ulcers. I like to think I’m giving ulcers to people like tia maria by making them confront a few inconvenient truths about what their Labor heroes did to the country.

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      PS There’s a couple of cold XXXXes (that’s so our Queensland friends know I mean beer) in my not too distant future. But can you have beer when you are in a hunger strike? Sorry, I meant XXXX!

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      I never saw anything in The Hunger Strike Manual against Amber Water ?? 🙂

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      I think the page that says that in my copy of the manual got torn out. Somehow.

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