A CALL for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to commit to 50-50 commonwealth-state health funding has sparked further suggestions former prime minister Kevin Rudd is on the verge of making another leadership bid.
Mr Rudd, during a Queensland Media Club lunch in Brisbane on Thursday, asked Mr Abbott to commit to the even health funding split if he was elected to the top job.
He also questioned whether Mr Abbott had secret plans to withdraw funds from the current Federal Government investments in Medicare Locals, GP Superclinics, preventative health or emergency department upgrades in Queensland's public hospitals.
Mr Abbott did not respond to questions to his office directly but APN received a response from Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton.
"The Coalition remains committed to increasing spending in the health portfolio, which is exactly what Tony Abbott did as Health Minister," Mr Dutton said.
"The Coalition will announce the details of its health policy closer to the next election.
"We won't be taking advice from Kevin Rudd. His speech yesterday was not about health outcomes, it was about positioning himself for his never ending leadership bid."
Mr Rudd had said the Gillard Government would reach the even Commonwealth-State funding agreement by 2017 but more than a billion dollars had been invested in the past five years.
"It is absolutely fundamental for the future of the public hospital system, which is the backbone of the Australian medical system, for these institutions to remain world class," he said.
"That required cold-hard cash and the predictability of those cash flows into the future."
Mr Dutton said Mr Rudd should explain why he supported Treasurer Wayne Swan's $1.6 billion cut to health in the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook just weeks ago.
"Doctors and nurses around the country will tell you Mr Rudd over-promised and under-delivered in the area of health," he said.
"All the hospital visits in the white coat added up to very little tangible benefit to patients."
Mr Rudd ruled out a further leadership bid as recently as Monday during ABC's Q&A.