Labor’s plan for affordable health care for Central Victorians

Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP will today be joined by local residents to hear their experiences about the rising cost of health care and the increasing damage it is having on the household budgets and health of Central Victorians.

Ms Chesters said the continues price hikes for basic health care and increasing private health insurance premiums are stopping constituents from visiting GPs and specialists because they can’t afford the out-of-pocket expenses.

“Central Victorians can’t afford any more barriers to their health, and yet under Malcolm Turnbull and his Liberal Government, out-of-pocket costs to access health care are higher than ever.

“I meet families and pensioners in this position every day and they tell me they are living week to week. The rising cost of health care is a real issue for them. Price hikes for basic health care are hurting many of these households,” said Ms Chesters.

A Shorten Labor Government will ensure premium health care is available and more affordable for all Central Victorians.

“The average out of pocket cost for patients from a sample of 23 Bendigo GP clinics was $21. Patients are paying more because the Liberal Government have not increased the Medicare levy for doctors. Labor in Government will increase the Medicare levy and lower these out of pocket fees.

“At a local Primary Healthcare forum we heard from a cancer survivor who needs to see a speech therapist, a podiatrist or a neurological nurse and every time she visits a specialist she has to pay $8.50 out of pocket. In the last month her bill totalled $200.

“This experience is far too common and an example of how our user-pay health care system is hurting the most at risk in our community.

“Malcolm Turnbull and his Liberal Government are still trying hike up the cost of all medicines on the PBS. Labor in Government will scrap any increase costs to the PBS.”

“Central Victorians are also paying more than ever for private health insurance, and still being stung when they try to use their cover. Local families are paying an average of more than $1,000 every year for private health than they were when the Liberals came to power in 2013.

“Labor in Government will protect Australians from soaring private health insurance costs and cap premiums at 2% for two years. This will put an average $340 back into the pockets of Central Victorian families.

“The Turnbull Liberal Government is failing to address this crisis and help Central Victorians with the affordability of private health insurance, prescription medicine and out of pocket fees.”

“A fairer society is one in which all Australians are able to get high-quality and affordable health care when they require it."

“The Liberals only care about their own political health – not the health of Central Victorians,” said Ms Chesters.