Labor has launched an online portal encouraging Australians to submit their experiences of Medicare and the impact of healthcare cuts, in a sign that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will continue to attack Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Medicare.
Mr Shorten said the new portal – mymedicarestory.com – was established in response to complaints from Australians about ‘serious delays in Medicare processing’ under the Turnbull government. He said some people had reported a six-week delay getting a refund.
“We know that because of this Government’s cuts to vital services some people are falling through the cracks,” Mr Shorten said. “We want to know when that happens, so we can help ensure our health care system is strengthened now and in the future.
“Labor will never stop fighting to protect Medicare from Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals. Today there is a clear message for Malcolm Turnbull – give Medicare the best birthday present by dropping the savage cuts to health which will see bulk billing drop, every Australian pay more and Medicare undermined.”
Submissions using the portal are anonymous and can be confidential, if requested.
Mr Shorten’s Mediscare message – warning voters that Mr Turnbull was trying to sell off or privatise Medicare through the back door – became central to Labor’s campaign during the 2016 federal election.
The Opposition wheeled out former PM Bob Hawke to front the TV and YouTube advertising campaign, warning that the Liberals had set up “a Medicare privatisation taskforce” that would destroy the country’s healthcare system.
Mr Shorten used the fact that the government was exploring outsourcing Medicare payments as leverage to suggest that the whole kit and caboodle could follow suit.
Shortly afterwards, Mr Turnbull said Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, health, aged-care and related veterans’ payments would continue to be managed by the government and disbanded the $5 million Digital Payments Services Taskforce, which had been aided by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The Department of Health is understood to have held market briefings with IT providers in Sydney and Melbourne last month in a bid to select potential partners to help replace Medicare’s 30-year-old system ahead of the Request For Proposal.
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