Australians want Medicare — not Mediocre

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(Image by Lawrie Mullins)

The Australian people don't want a GP tax in any form, says John Ryan.

Even though PM Tony Abbott protests that the GP Tax was discussed before the election and ought not to have been a surprise — it was.

He premises his argument on the fact it wasn’t categorically ruled out before the election.

On that basis he also didn’t rule out fire-bombing Perth, so perhaps the people of Burswood might be wise to invest in a bunker or two.

In the PM’s favour, maybe he believes the selective leaking, part of the "conditioning process" that occurred before the Budget in May, was akin to serious policy discussion regarding this vital function of government.

It was met with a storm of objections. Amongst many was the fact that hospital emergency departments would be overloaded — a genuine concern obviously. 

In an effort to free himself of the shackles of dire unpopularity, on 26 November PM Abbott declared he would be cleaning off the barnacles.

To achieve this end the GP tax would be abandoned, like Work Choices — dead, buried, cremated. Or was it?

Well, evidently not. Yesterday, it was announced that a $5 GP tax would be proposed, in the guise of a rebate reduction. 

Does this ameliorate the existing objections?

I would proffer that it doesn’t. As suggested by the AMA, the emphasis and burden is merely shifted to the medical officers themselves. For a Party dedicated to red tape reduction this whole scenario seems nightmarish. As a concerned citizen witnessing this national destruction, I am just left asking why?

Why, when we are second best place in the world to live after Norway, are we hell bent on removing a central pillar of that success — health?

The Coalition is going to keep harping on about a confected Budget crisis but even the Treasurer knows this is bunkum. Notwithstanding its non-existence, how would demoting health serve as any cure?

Public health has long been espoused as a co-efficient of national productivity. Quick, reliable, and free access to the basic service of an excellent GP diagnosis is a key component of that public health objective.

In any case, it’s well known the money raised will not go to any budget relief — it’s off to an as yet designated medical research "future fund".

As part of a long list of broken election promises, the Government has dismantled Medicare Local.

Enough! We want Medicare! Not Mediocre!

John Ryan is an ALP member.

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