17th Apr 2019
FONT SIZE: A+ A-
Free blood tests for older Australians on the table
Free blood tests for older Australians on the table

Labor has reignited the ‘blood feud’ that began in 2016 with its Mediscare campaign, by promising a $200 million increase in bulk-billing incentives, including free blood tests for older Australians and cancer patients.

“A Shorten Labor government will ensure vital blood tests are protected from Scott Morrison’s health cuts – investing $200 million to keep pathology tests free for older Australians and Australians with cancer,” said Mr Shorten.

“Blood tests are the frontline of treatment for cancer and serious diseases. They are critical not only for diagnosis, but to track whether a treatment is working or not.”

In Labor’s fifth health announcement since the election was called last Thursday, Bill Shorten also confirmed an extension to his signature $2.3 billion cancer care package after being forced to deny it was underfunded by $5.8 billion.

Labor’s free pathology tests should cover three million tests needed each year by cancer patients on top of the 20 million needed by older Australians.

In what is proving to be a battle over economic management and health spending, Labor attacked Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his “savage cuts” to hospitals, health and Medicare. Drawing the Coalition into this territory – which almost cost former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull the 2016 election – has the Coalition right where the ALP wants it, says a senior Labor source.

The Coalition returned fire with questions about the costings of Labor’s cancer care package, which led Mr Morrison to accuse Labor of not being able manage money.

Health Minister Greg Hunt claimed Health Department analysis suggested that if Labor were to fund all existing cancer care over the next four years, it would end up $5.8 billion short.

However, according to The Australian, Labor health spokeswoman Catherine King wrote to Health Department secretary Glenys Beauchamp “who confirmed the department had not costed Labor’s policy”.

In other election news, Labor has decided against further tax cuts for more than 1.5 million workers. According to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Labor deliberated on a tax reform package for Australians earning between $90,000 and $120,000 but has instead opted to redirect the billions of dollars the cuts would have cost towards the budget bottom line.

Do you think Labor can cover the cost of its big promises?

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    TOR888
    18th Apr 2019
    10:22am
    I don’t trust the LNP on anything regarding my health...
    MICK
    18th Apr 2019
    11:14am
    Or anything which comes out of their mouths. Never before was there ever a bigger bunch of lying low life misfits who belong in front of the courts not politics.
    dick
    18th Apr 2019
    12:21pm
    Mmm... and labor doesn't.. short memories.. what about last election and all the scare campaign posters and advertising and chanting "save Medicare" !! Under Health Minister Hunt there have been significant expensive life saving drugs moved onto PBS and bulk billing doctors visits at all time high of 80%. Shorten is promising nothing but spend spend spend... I already have free blood tests (over 4 a year) so what is he on about.. he doesn't even know what is available now... a great future leader.. not !!!
    porthboy
    18th Apr 2019
    1:05pm
    Just like the carbon tax wasn't a tax so the "mediscare" campaign wasn't a scare campaign.

    Medicare is over 90% a bill payer for medical accounts, the LNP were looking into privatising that part of Medicare, leaving the name standing but not much else, which would amount to privatisation by stealth
    porthboy
    18th Apr 2019
    1:05pm
    Just like the carbon tax wasn't a tax so the "mediscare" campaign wasn't a scare campaign.

    Medicare is over 90% a bill payer for medical accounts, the LNP were looking into privatising that part of Medicare, leaving the name standing but not much else, which would amount to privatisation by stealth
    dick
    18th Apr 2019
    2:42pm
    porthboy.. don't forget loud mouth Bill's scare tactics at the last election... "save Medicare".. you are talking crap and falling for Shorten's "save Medicare" rant. LNP have stated they are not looking at privatising Medicare. You must get your facts right.
    porthboy
    18th Apr 2019
    3:53pm
    Not too sure about me talking crap, read what I said again, carefully! I can tell you though your name suits
    Paddington
    18th Apr 2019
    9:57pm
    They might have put a few drugs on the free list but they have removed a lot that many people take. Even our GP is furious with drugs missing and removing certain dosages and not letting doctors what is going on. Every time we go to th chemist now there is an issue.
    LNP certainly hope to privatise both Medicare and the ABC. The only thing that stops them is public opinion and not being voted back in. The far right are especially threatened by the ABC.
    MICK
    18th Apr 2019
    11:13am
    "The Coalition returned fire with questions about the costings of Labor’s cancer care package."

    That means they ignored what was being offered and tried to demonise Labor for a genuine offer on the table which it, the government, would never make.
    Worst thinh is we heard much of the lying attacks from Greg Hunt....the "You have high electricit prices because of the Carbon Tax man". Well there goes any credibility from a proven liar. The Morrison took up the fight. No comment.
    dick
    18th Apr 2019
    12:08pm
    You talk about Greg Hunt lying but you haven't mentioned all the expensive life saving drugs that he moved to the PBS over the past couple of years... and talking of lying what about last election when that idiot Shorten tried his scare campaign with slogans and posters and chanting "save Medicare" !!!.. short(en) memories some people.
    Sceptic
    18th Apr 2019
    12:37pm
    However, according to The Australian, Labor health spokeswoman Catherine King wrote to Health Department secretary Glenys Beauchamp “who confirmed the department had not costed Labor’s policy”. How disingenuous. It doesn't have to cost Labor's policies to come up with a figure, all the Government has to do is ask it to cost all existing cancer care over the next four years. Result = Labour's policy.
    dick
    18th Apr 2019
    2:44pm
    As for Labor and their costings.. they are going to give me free blood tests when they are free already !!!!!... great policy Bill... maybe Shorten should get into the real world.
    Paddington
    18th Apr 2019
    10:06pm
    dick, you cannot accuse others of being fooled when you support this present LNP. Have you always voted for them? What about the likes of Tony Abbott and other far right pollies?
    It is different this time. The environment has become the top issue and young people are supporting it even if a few oldies refuse to be informed. Health and education are important too but surprisingly not as much as the environment.
    ScoMo is like a chameleon presenting different things to different people. Bill Shorten is at least consistent. But it is not even about the two leaders it is about the whole party and their values and the values of the LNP are not what a lot of people like any more and their recent track record of instability is paramount in how many people vote. No loyalty and disrespect and bullying is what people see!
    Anonymous
    21st Apr 2019
    3:28pm
    I despise the LNP, Paddington, but they can't hold a candle to the current Labor Party when it comes to dishonesty, loyalty, or disrespect. And they are the most divisive and discriminatory party we have ever seen in this country and by far the most UNFAIR.
    mogo51
    18th Apr 2019
    11:27am
    Labor has bee. Unable to do basic maths in the past. Nothing telling me it won't be more if the same.
    LIBS are on the nose - what a pathetic choice!!!!
    MICK
    18th Apr 2019
    11:53am
    The basic maths you mention is what crooked coalition governments CLAIM. Normally their claims are lies and we are seeing this play out at present as they think their media backers will promote them and the public will be fooled. Some of course are but a growing number of voters understand the game and are ready to caste their vote....not for this bunch.
    dick
    18th Apr 2019
    2:47pm
    Mick... what about Shorten offering me free blood tests when I get them for free already !!!! .. good to see a future prime minister with no idea what is going on.. !! but people like you are one eyed and keep their head in the sand. His union mates cant wait for him to get in.
    Sen.Cit.90
    19th Apr 2019
    11:50am
    Mick's comment about "media backers" is rubbish.
    If you watch all the ALP TV promotion adverts you will notice ALL are sponsored by Unions spouting lies.
    Anonymous
    21st Apr 2019
    3:26pm
    I phoned the two largest providers in the country and both were emphatic that EVERYONE IS BULK BILLED. They DO NOT charge for blood tests. And both have outlets nationwide.
    SFR
    18th Apr 2019
    11:32am
    My annual checkup & blood tests are all bulk billed so no expense to me apart from the medicare levy I pay to Mr ATO
    Troubadour
    18th Apr 2019
    11:56am
    Agree - we have never had to pay for blood tests since retiring - we basic aged pensioners.
    grahami2006
    18th Apr 2019
    12:04pm
    We are both on the aged pension and have never had to pay for blood tests as a matter of fact I spoke with a relative who is a school teacher and she said that she has never had to pay for blood tests.
    Is this another untruth from the labor party?
    dick
    18th Apr 2019
    12:11pm
    My family and I never pay for blood tests.. I have over 4 a year.. and I am bulk billed for doctor visits like 80% of all visits Aust wide. Shorten is promising nothing. I hope people remember the crap that was thrown around last election with posters and advertising and chanting "save Medicare".. I remember Bill treating us like idiots.
    Rae
    19th Apr 2019
    8:20am
    I thought blood tests were but billed. Any I've had over the years have been.
    Sen.Cit.90
    19th Apr 2019
    11:36am
    Me too SFR,
    I get good medical care all cost-free (paid for by my years of being taxed). Years ago, I had colon cancer removed Free, Also, prostate cancer radiation treatment at a minimal cost. I wonder who the ALP is supposed to be making better off?
    dick
    18th Apr 2019
    12:05pm
    Approx 80% of doctor visits are bulk billed..including me and my family. I don't know what Bill is on about with free blood tests as I never pay for a blood test.. and I have more than 4 a year. He is promising nothing... but I do remember him last election standing on a podium and chanting loudly "save medicare".. good scare tactic Bill. Every couple of weeks for the past 2 years I have seen the Health Minister moving expensive drugs onto the PBS.
    Rae
    19th Apr 2019
    8:22am
    And moving drugs a lot of people need off the list. Makes sense if you are a desperate government who sold all your income earning assets and destroyed your tax base with stupid tax cuts and tax rebates and concessions.
    Ayin
    18th Apr 2019
    12:15pm
    Isn't lying for pecuniary gain (ie huge salary) not simply a case of fraud? If you or I were to do so say in a prospectus we could be charged with fraud a gaolable offence that would render that person unfit to sit in Parliament.
    SFR
    18th Apr 2019
    12:51pm
    How can free blood tests or bulk billing be fraud
    dick
    18th Apr 2019
    2:50pm
    SFR it is fraud when Shorten offers free blood tests that I have already.!!!! and over 80% of doctor's visits Aust wide are bulk billed.... you need to get your facts right and not be sucked in by an overpaid union leader who has no idea what is really going on.... and in the meantime I am off to get my next blood test next week which will be free already !!!.. (but Bill doesn't know that !!)
    SFR
    19th Apr 2019
    12:54am
    Rubbish dick, fraud lol, not everyone gets free blood tests so Mr Shorten is offering FREE BLOOD TESTS to all even those that don't have or can't get bulk billing.
    Anonymous
    21st Apr 2019
    3:30pm
    Both of the two largest Pathology labs in the country - both of which have outlets nationwide - says EVERYONE IS BULK BILLED. They do NOT charge anyone. Shorten is lying AGAIN. - STILL. He never stops lying,
    Farside
    22nd Apr 2019
    9:45pm
    Disinformation is so easily spread by ignorance and sweeping statements. It is true that about 85% of pathology for out-of-hospital testing is bulk-billed however there remain many pathology tests that are limited in frequency (e.g. Haemoglobin A1c for diabetics) or not bulk billed such as those without a Medicare item number or conducted for non-medical purposes such as insurance and employment screening. Big call to label someone as lying without context or providing a more nuanced answer that looks to facts rather than simplistic generalisations.

    Sonic, largest pathology provider, currently bulk bill almost 98% of its services. One of its members Melbourne Pathology, highlights that if you are a self-funded patient (ie. a patient without eligible private health insurance) you will receive an account for your pathology tests. You will still be able to claim 75% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule fee from Medicare and will be out-of-pocket for the balance, which will consist of 25% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule fee in addition to the remainder of the account.

    Dorevitch Pathology, (member of Primary Health Care, second largest pathology group), has a downloadable list of non-rebateable tests at http://www.dorevitch.com.au/Portals/0/PDF/DP0272%20Medicare_Non_Rebatable_Tests_No%20Prices%204.0%20February%202019.pdf
    dick
    18th Apr 2019
    12:17pm
    If you have kids or grandkids it is important to think of their future when they are trying to get ahead financially. The removal of negative gearing and increasing capital gains tax is a real disincentive to "have a go". This policy doesn't affect me. But having retired from the finance industry where I arranged investment loan mainly for mums and dads nurses and teachers trying to build a retirement nest egg. It was very rare for me to see clients with more than one property. And as super funds grow retirees will have less income as a result of Bill's franking credits policy which will severely impact future retirees. THink of your kids and grandkids before you vote.. the above are really bad policies which will increase the welfare bill.
    SFR
    18th Apr 2019
    12:50pm
    Dick wrote " the above are really bad policies which will increase the welfare bill."
    so free blood tests are a bad policy hey
    dick
    18th Apr 2019
    2:39pm
    SFR We already have free blood tests.. I have over 4 a year and always free.. Shorten in his typical fashion is grandstanding on something we already have !!!!.. and over 80% of doctor's visits Aust wide are bulk billed.

    AND you completely missed the point of my above post and the lack of incentive for future generations to work hard and get ahead... Labor socialist policy... think of our kids and grandkids.
    SFR
    19th Apr 2019
    1:00am
    Yes dick, but NOT EVERYONE gets free tests done as in some areas the doctors don't bulk bill or the testing centre doesn't bulk bill.
    Introducing free blood tests across the board is a good policy.
    I have a full check once a year so if you're having constantly having tests done then you are cost me & other taxpayers a lot of money.
    But I won't begrudge you that as I don't mind paying for your tests as I believe they would be legit.
    Rae
    19th Apr 2019
    8:29am
    Both Parties hate retired teachers, nurses, firefighters, police etc for some odd reason. Maybe it was the union aspect that annoys them.

    It's already too late for those who bothered saving and investing. Best to join those who spend every cent each fortnight and wait until the welfare system implodes.

    The way this is going there won't be a Social Security net for the grandkids. Nobody in their right mind would try to save and scrimp to be self funded now surely.
    beyond caring
    18th Apr 2019
    12:22pm
    it just beyond understanding this labor bull. I generally vote either way but don't bull me.
    and labor is doing just that... it said if you tell a lie often enough soon or later people believe it...

    I don't know what countries others are in, but where I from ( aust) I never pay for blood tests and have a general one every year checking on the things us oldie need checking on.
    you sugar -heart - etc. guess what it costs me NOTHING-
    Farside
    22nd Apr 2019
    9:51pm
    and Beyond Caring, just because you never pay for blood tests it does not so hold that blood tests are free for everybody. Most of out of hospital pathology is bulk-billed however simplistic assumptions do not assist understanding.
    Old Man
    18th Apr 2019
    12:50pm
    No, I don't think that Labor van cover the costs of its promises. I say this because Shorten can't (or won't) disclose the cost of the climate policy even when asked numerable times. In addition, the website has had pages removed on climate costs and negative gearing costings which makes me think that there is something to hide.

    Shorten's lie about there being no extra taxes on superannuation hasn't filled me with confidence. His bluster about not hearing the question properly doesn't hold water as the question was asked three times and the last one was answered with a definite "Yes". Turns out that four different taxes covering superannuation will be levied.

    As regards the claim that Morrison has made "savage cuts" to hospitals, health and Medicare is another Labor lie. The government has increased health spending each and every year since it was elected with increases each year in the forward estimates. I also note that the cancer care package was underfunded by $5.8 billion.

    So, in answer to the question, I say an emphatic "NO!" because to date Labor's policies that have had costings released show a shortfall and climate policies costings won't be discussed, negative gearing policies have been hidden and the lies about health have been dusted off from the 2016 election "Mediscare".
    McGroger
    18th Apr 2019
    2:05pm
    OM, re the cancer care package, the way I read the article Greg Hunt appears to have been lying when he said the Health Dept’s analysis suggested Labor’s plan might be underfunded because according to a report in the Australian it appears the Health Dept have not even done any costing of Labor’s plan.
    Linda
    18th Apr 2019
    2:22pm
    Just get a happy face on TV, and start making pork barrel promises meanwhile, action on climate change, action on hospital and health care, more unstated trimming of current spending, and so on. This is the election about what is not said, what plans are not revealed. I have my memory, of the ugly far right of LNP, the big river dry, the water scandals, the disunity in the party, the nasty, poor judgement Dutton, the strategic marketeer Prime Minister, his penchant for demoting women, the lack of decent Centrelink services and the robo calls, the threat of TA coming back with a hat full of lies, we need better people running this country. They will be last on my vote card. Don't be taken in by the scare tactics, try to remember how they used the tax money before this election was called. They don't even have a party majority, they have to deal with the Nationals, who have let their own down re farmers. Lets not forget the fracking, the special treatment for some re immigration, and the general level of laziness the exudes from the Liberal Party.
    dick
    18th Apr 2019
    2:56pm
    And Linda lets not forget Shortens lies promising me free blood tests when they are free already. !!! and over 80% of doctors visits are bulk billed. Perhaps you have missed the regular and numerous announcements over the past few years of Greg Hunt announcing the moving of expensive life saving drugs onto the PBS.
    And Bill's rants and misleading lies last election chanting "save Medicare" remember that ?
    Paddington
    18th Apr 2019
    10:08pm
    dick, you are repeating yourself and I won’t so ditto to what I have already said!
    SFR
    19th Apr 2019
    1:04am
    Yes dick, but NOT EVERYONE gets free tests done as in some areas the doctors don't bulk bill or the testing centre doesn't bulk bill.
    Introducing free blood tests across the board is a good policy.
    I have a full check once a year so if you're having constantly having tests done then you are cost me & other taxpayers a lot of money.
    But I won't begrudge you that as I don't mind paying for your tests as I believe they would be legit.
    Anonymous
    21st Apr 2019
    3:31pm
    Everyone CAN have free blood tests, because the two largest Pathology labs in the nation have outlets nation-wide and neither charge ANYONE. The both bulk bill EVERYONE.
    neil
    18th Apr 2019
    2:54pm
    Of course labour can cover the costs of their policies, any political party can.

    Neil.
    neil
    18th Apr 2019
    2:54pm
    Of course labour can cover the costs of their policies, any political party can.

    Neil.
    JOHN T
    18th Apr 2019
    5:26pm
    i take it Dick you are not 24 with two kids other wise you would not be getting free needles
    not even one so wake up to your self there are other people in this world with you who will appreciate it as for Greg Hunt try and find one Doctor who will defend him
    On the Ball
    18th Apr 2019
    7:13pm
    "Health Minister Greg Hunt claimed Health Department analysis " And: "who confirmed the department had not costed Labor’s policy”.

    So why has no media outlet (including THIS ONE) followed this LIE up?

    Or is lying just another facet of the LNP's desperate attempts to denigrate Labor?
    Well, it saves them telling us what they will do, (and why they haven't done it yet...)
    Tarzan
    19th Apr 2019
    12:21pm
    I haven't paid for blood tests in years, my Doc bulk bills, Mediscare all over again, Liberals aren't even contemplating changing Medicare.
    ardnher
    21st Apr 2019
    9:50am
    i have never paid for blood tests
    Anonymous
    21st Apr 2019
    3:22pm
    Of course not. They have been free for as long as I can remember.

    21st Apr 2019
    3:21pm
    Here we go again with this Labor Party BS offering to make something free that already is! Robbing Peter to PRETEND to pay Paul, and not even telling the truth about where the money they steal will go.


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles