Labor has promised to reverse the Lieberal freeze on Medicare, and index the Medicare rebate to inflation.
Medicare is of course Labor's big strength. Medicare was implemented by Labor in the early '80's and Labor has always looked after it. It's also extremely popular with the electorate, which has seen Australian's health improve over the decades with access to quality healthcare for all.
The Lieberals haven't thought out these cuts to the Medicare rebate. Whilst ripping over $50billion from hospitals nationwide, more people will turn up to emergency rooms instead of having to pay a co-payment to see the doctor down the road. Making the hospital situation even worse.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will unveil a major plank of Labor's pitch for middle Australia on Thursday, pledging to re-invigorate Medicare by restoring the inflation-based growth rate to Medicare payments to doctors for the provision of medical services.
The move, which builds on one of Labor's traditional strengths of healthcare, is designed to outflank the Coalition and reassert Labor's claim of being the best party to deliver on basic services for ordinary households.
Its timing may also be fortuitous, as it comes as medical professional bodies grow increasingly frustrated at what they believe is a chronic funding shortage in Medicare, which is undermining the very system of universal health insurance.
With concerns over healthcare forming such a key part of the election contest, Fairfax Media understands the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is preparing to embark on an "unprecedented" $1 million television, radio, and digital media campaign aimed squarely at pressing the major parties into properly funding Medicare.
The campaign, set to begin from May 29, warns Australians that voting for a continuation of the freeze is a vote for higher GP costs. "The federal government's freeze on Medicare rebates means you'll pay more to see your doctor," it states before concluding with the warning: "It's just not right. In Australia your wealth shouldn't affect your health. Say no to the freeze on Medicare rebates." Sydney Morning Herald