Category Archives: Health

Two Months On – What has changed?

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Two months ago almost to the day (tomorrow), Australia received a new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. I say received because we the people don’t elect them. We elect local representatives from parties who then in majority (usually) form the government of the day. In reality, the leader of the country isn’t directly elected, although some in the public think otherwise and talk as if they are. So, there was a ‘spill’ (love that term), the noxious Tony Abbott was voted out by his Liberal Party ‘mates’ (sic) and Malcolm Turnbull was installed in the chair.

What has changed?

Pretty much nothing but style – the policies have remained:

  • children and their families are still in concentration camps on Nauru and Manus Island, PNG;
  • climate action is laughably bad paying polluters from tax coffers not to pollute instead of charging them when they do;
  • marriage equality is a long way off, if ever
  • all of our communications “metadata” (yeah right) is being collected for 2 years and law enforcement in some cases can access without judicial oversight
  • the financial situation is still a mess, switching from a “budget emergency” to “go out and borrow on that credit card” to who knows what, the Treasurer (oh, yeah, we got a new one of those, too – prior Immigration — NOT Minister, Social Services — NOT Minister, Scott Morrison) doesn’t know if it’s a revenue problem or a spending problem (Hint: it’s a population change demand situation, not a problem at all)
  • the health minister is still going to get her mitts on ALL of OUR HEALTH DATA through a goal-post shifting Health Record that will now become Opt-Out
  • health funding is still cut (on future growth) by $80Billion
  • education funding is still cut
  • and the National Broadband Network redesign to cripple it, brought about by Malcolm himself, is still costing more and doing less than the original NBN we were promised by Labor.

What has changed is there is now a dapper dressing millionaire PM who can inflect his speech well when reading from a prepared speech, doesn’t embarrass us quite so much when we let him go out of the country, and has soothed/smoothed the worst of the worst aspects of Abbott’s reign. He did change a few of the Ministers, for good or bad, but he left in some really bad ones:

  • Dutton as Immigration Minister — NOT, an ex Queensland drug squad cop who knows zilch about Immigration other than ‘lock them up’ in camps
  • Morrison as Treasurer — NOT, a Hill$$$ong evangelical Christian who was an Liberal party apparatchik who is totally out of his depth
  • Brandis as Attorney General (took away his Arts portfolio, though), a dilettante with $15,000 bookcases he keeps rebuilding in each office for same amount (maybe it was a cost saving measure to keep him in place) — Mr. Metadata extraordinaire who supports bigotry
  • Christopher “Poodle” Pyne as Minister for ‘Malcolm’s favourite word of the moment’ Innovation — has Chris ever created anything? Anything???? Name just 2 things, please
  • and a cast of more.

Did I say the policies stayed? Yeppers. It’s still the Libs. Doing deals with their under-buddies, the Nats and their business mates (cough)Rupert(cough). It’s still regressive tax proposals, anti-citizen, anti-civil rights, more for the 1% Neo-Liberalism/Neo-Conservative claptrap.

But at least Mal doesn’t embarrass us overseas. (Yet)

GP rebate change – Letter to Health Minister (UPDATED)

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It’s just dawning on the public and the media that the Abbott government pulled a swifty before Christmas, reducing the amount of Medicare rebate to General Practitioner doctors, increasing the charge to many patients by $20/visit, ABOVE any out of pocket payments already charged,  even more than the $7 copay they ditched because of a public outcry. Here’s my letter to Sussan Ley, Health Minister following Peter Dutton who she replaced recently. And here is her email address if you want to vent your spleen as well.

UPDATED: Letter and her NEW email address via the Dept. of Health

Minister.Ley@health.gov.au
Farrer@aph.gov.au

Dear Minister
I know you didn’t do this, but it’s in your lap now. Since sending this to your Farrer office, I understand that YOU have come out in SUPPORT of this poorly thought through policy.

Have you been listening to anyone in the media this week about the DAMAGE this change in policy/fees is going to cause? Here’s what I’ve heard:
– extended consultations that are unnecessary, including chats about pets, to meet the 10 min. minimum.
– reduced patient through-put
– reduced number of appointments/day, making access to GPs WORSE
– referrals back to GPs by Emergency Departments STOPPED, making ED services even MORE CLOGGED, cost shifting to STATES; Your party tries this on often. It’s getting to be a very old and tiring strategy.
– more people avoiding going to GPs, the CHEAPEST part of the system through preventative care and check-ups, yet no changes to specialist rebates. How does that make ANY sense?
– parents w/ kids thinking twice about taking their children to the doctor because: NO MONEY for paying
– NEW info: 26% of rebates for short consults average out the longer ones, hence 26% of GP productivity reduced.
– NEW info: rural especially hit hard

I don’t think I need to go on any more. This change will put clinics out of business.

The impact of this change is FAR worse than the $5-7 copay, which was bad enough. Now your government has snuck through a bombshell of a fee increase through a sickening pre-Christmas “gift”.

If you thought this was a one-term government before, which many people already did, this is the last nail in the coffin.

If there isn’t a backdown on this change pretty quick, before bulk billing is totally destroyed, you can kiss your time in any form of government away for at least the next decade. The home budget, which is a REAL budget, will sink your government in a heartbeat.

Sincerely,
Jan Whitaker