News the Gillard Government rammed their changes to Private Health Insurance through the Senate last night will come as a blow to regional Victorians, according to Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie.
“This is another betrayal by the Gillard Government which will further increase cost of living pressures on Bendigo residents,” Senator McKenzie said today.
“Our nation’s health system is the envy of the world. Australia relies on strong public and private systems to meet our healthcare needs.”
Senator McKenzie said she had no doubt insurance premiums would rise and there would be flow on effects to the public heath system as a consequence of the Government’s legislation.
“Labor is simply wrong to imply that private health insurance is for the rich,” she said. “5.6 million Australians with private health insurance have an annual household income of less than $50,000 and 3.4 million have an annual household income of less than $35,000.
“In Bendigo, more than 56,000 people – most of whom are not millionaires but rather hardworking Australians – have private health insurance cover.
“In the face of immediate increases in premiums and reduced rebates, many of these Bendigo residents now have to decide whether they will withdraw or downgrade their cover.
“The PHI changes will commence on 1 July 2012, the same day Labor’s calamitous carbon tax comes into effect.
“Regional Victoria is not Mr Swan’s personal ATM. We cannot afford to be slugged again and again to make up for the fact this incompetent government has blown the entire surplus it inherited from the Coalition.
“The Coalition believes all Australians should have access to affordable healthcare and real choice in managing their healthcare needs,” Senator McKenzie concluded.