LETTER: Medicare scare is far from crying wolf

IF voters, like your partisan correspondent, S. O'Connell, (QT, June 22) believe that voting for the Tories will save Medicare they will be in for a massive shock.

Despite his shrill claims about Bill Shorten, the facts are these:

1. An official Medicare privatisation taskforce was set up in the Health Department; money was allocated for it in the Budget and they made recommendations on how to prepare for the sale.

(Budget Paper No 2 2014-15, Market testing of the payment of health services by commercial payment service providers).

2. They gave PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers) a big consulting firm, and Boston Consulting Group, $5 million to begin the process for a sale - expressions of interest in the privatisation of Medicare came from the four big banks, telecommunications companies and Northrup Grumman - a multi-national security company. (Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, 6 May 2016 - p5).

3. The Productivity Commission was tasked to report on how to privatise service delivery, including Medicare, and used the USA as an example.

(Productivity Commission Inquiries - Human Services).

If those facts are not enough evidence of the Tories' intentions, then perhaps the following excerpts from the right-wing Murdoch press and AAP will show that they do want to privatise Medicare, despite their strident protestations.

1. "Medicare, pharmaceuticals and aged-care benefits would be delivered by the private sector ."

(West Australian, 9 February 2016).

2. "More than 48 expressions of interest from public and private-sector providers had been received . . ." (Australian Financial Review, 20 June 2016). 3. 'a Productivity Commission review of the "contestability" of all human services delivered by the government . . ." (AAP, 19 June 2016).

Similarly, if those news items are insufficient to convince voters of their intentions to privatise Medicare, then, perhaps the Prime Minister's own words will suffice.

"In an ideal world, every Australian would have private health insurance.

That would be the best; that would be the best outcome". (Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, ABC Radio, 15 May 2009).

Finally, if none of the above is definitive enough, then check out Canberra Times editorial artist, David Pope's editorial cartoon (David Pope - Canberra Times, 23 June 2016) and perhaps it will be sufficient to satisfy voters of the Tories intentions to privatise Medicare.

 

ROB BUTLER

 

Bellbird Park



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