Despite Tony Abbott’s solemn election promise of “no cuts to health” he has now cut around $60 billion since he was elected.
In last night’s Budget a further $2 billion was ripped from health in yet another unfair cut.
The Abbott Government appears determined to inflict even more pain and chaos on a health sector already reeling from last year’s cuts.
This Budget is short-sighted, it threatens the future of Australia’s health system and entrenches the fundamental unfairness of the Government’s first disastrous Budget.
Close to $1 billion will be cut from programs that fund measures such as preventative health care, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, mental health and other crucial health programs.
Literally thousands of organisations around the country that do vital work caring for Australia’s most at risk and vulnerable people will be left reeling from this assault on their core funding.
The scale of these cuts means many organisations will be forced to close their doors, while others will have to cut back on staff and services.
The Budget has also cut:
- $125 million from the Child Dental Benefits Schedule
- $144.6m cut from the MBS including halving the amount paid for child health assessments
- $69.6m cut to DVA dental and allied health payments
- $214.1 million from eHealth with not a single dollar allocated beyond 2018
- $252.2 million from PBS listed drugs
- $72.5m cut to health workforce scholarships
In addition to these new cuts the Budget does nothing to reverse the $1.3 billion increase to the price of medicines; the millions of dollars being added to out of pocket costs through unfair changes to the Medicare Safety Nets; or the indexation freeze on GP fees that will attack Medicare and will have an even greater impact than the initial proposal for a GP Tax.
At the same time, the Government continues to bank the $57 billion in cuts it made to public hospitals in last year’s funding. This year’s Budget confirms that growth in hospital services expenditure is expected to fall by 10.2 per cent between 2015/16 to 2018/19. This will be inadequate to meet the demand for hospital services and inevitably lead to a blow out in emergency department waiting times and elective surgery waiting times, putting lives at risk.
The Abbott Government has gutted Medicare since coming to office and this Budget only inflicts further damage. If the Abbott Government gets its way Medicare will be nothing more than a residual safety net, not the universal health insurance scheme as it was established by Labor.
Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey have broken their promise to families that they would not be hurt – this Budget is paid for by cuts to the health services of all Australians.