The Federal Government is considering breaking another election promise by slugging Australian families with a tax on hospital visits.
Newspaper reports cite a senior government source saying: “If you do something around GPs, then you would have to do something around the emergency departments”.
Shadow Finance Minister Tony Burke said its time the Government came clean about what’s in its Commission of Audit report, including the proposed $6 GP Tax, and release it publicly.
“The Government has been selectively leaking the report’s findings for weeks and it’s time Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey come clean with the Australian people and release it publicly,” Mr Burke said.
“Joe Hockey has cooked the books and made decisions that have added $68 billion to the deficit and now he expects Australians to pick up the tab on his bad choices and pay a tax on hospital visits.
“Budgets are about choices and priorities and right now the Government’s first budget will be filled with its bad choices and twisted priorities.
“He made promises before the election and is doing the exact opposite after, and we’re seeing this once again with the leaking of this proposed new Hospital Tax.”
Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King said the level of healthcare Australian families receive should depend on their Medicare card, not their credit card.
“Charging people to go to an emergency ward is against the fundamental principle of Medicare. It will increase the rate at which a two-tiered health system is being created,” said Ms King.
“When Tony Abbott was health minister he put a choke-hold on the number of GPs in Australia.
“Labor turned this around by doubling the number of GP training places and delivering 11,000 more doctors and 26,000 more nurses into the health care system.
“Tony Abbott’s plan is to restrict access to doctors only to those who can afford it.
“A hospital charge won’t increase revenue. It will just discourage people getting emergency medical help when they’re most at need.”