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Friday, 19 August 2016

The Turnbull Government is pressing ahead with plans to privatise the Medicare payments system, the Health Department has today confirmed.

Mr Turnbull promised during the election campaign that his government would not proceed with proposals to outsource the Medicare Payments system declaring:

“Every element of Medicare services that is being delivered by government today, will be delivered by government in the future. Full stop.”
Malcolm Turnbull, 19 June 2016

In fact, Mr Turnbull said at least 27 times during the campaign that outsourcing would not happen.

He described it as “solemn commitment, an unequivocal commitment” and when asked by Tony Jones on Q&A if that included the outsourcing of the payment system, Mr Turnbull responded: “Absolutely”.

However, a Freedom of Information request by AAP seeking details on changes to the $5 million PricewaterhouseCoopers contract to outsource Medicare payments has been rejected because no change has been requested.

“I am satisfied the documents referred to in your request do not exist.”
Kate McCauley of the digital payments services task force told AAP in her FOI response.
AAP, 19 June 2016

The ruling comes just days after another Freedom of Information request by The Australian for details of the PricewaterhouseCoopers contract was refused on the grounds that the document “includes preliminary thinking which are yet to be considered by Government”.

A third Freedom of Information request by The Australian on the privatisation plans was also refused because “the document contains information the disclosure of which would reveal a Cabinet deliberation or decision”.

The three FOI rulings confirm Malcolm Turnbull lied to voters when he told them that the plan to privatise the Medicare payments system had never come before Cabinet and that the plan had been abandoned.

It confirms Malcolm Turnbull’s promise to “never, ever” privatise Medicare is as believable as Tony Abbott’s promise of “no cuts to health”.

Don’t look at what the Liberals say – look at what they are doing.

In their first term in office the Liberals:

  • Froze Medicare benefits for six years to drive down bulk billing and make patients pay more.
  • Cut bulk billing payments for pathology and diagnostic imaging to make patients pay more.
  • Announced cuts to the Medicare Safety Net to make patients pay more.
  • Hiked the cost of prescriptions to make patients pay more.

Nothing, absolutely nothing this Government says on health can be believed.

At every opportunity, every budget, they have cut health and sought to destroy Medicare and make patients pay more.

Only Labor believes access to healthcare should depend on your Medicare card, not your credit card.

Labor introduced Medicare and we will always protect it.



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