BLUE MOUNTAINS UNIONS & COMMUNITY
Howard’s Sick Joke Not Funny
Working Families in the Blue Mountains are supporting calls for the Federal Government to fix Medicare.
The "Doctor Death” scenario in Queensland is not an isolated example, Doctor Con Costa from the Doctors Reform Society told a "Politics In The Pub” meeting in Katoomba last Saturday.
He said the move to meet the shortage of doctors by importing them from third world countries was a "band-aid solution”, and recent moves to lift the number of training places for Doctors wouldn’t bear fruit for ten years.
Dr. Costa told the forum on Medicare that buck passing between state and federal governments was the soft option, and had been a back door path to privatisation.
"All of Howard’s initiatives in health care have been for the private sector.
"Medicare is a federal responsibility, the feds lead the politics on this. Howard has destroyed bulk billing. Howard has destroyed the medical workforce.
"Is this latest announcement an acceptance that so many Australians have been hurt by his bankrupt policies?”
Dr Costa was joined at the forum by former Senator Bruce Childs, who raised concerns about the Pharmaceutical benefits scheme, the cutting of dental care by the Howard government and relationships between Howard Government health ministers and pharmaceutical companies.
Childs told the meeting the Howard Government had always disliked Medicare for ideological reasons, and warned we were heading towards an America user pays where 43 million have no health insurance coverage.
A Blue Mountains Save Medicare group formed at the meeting, held by the Blue Mountains Unions Council, with more information available from Lorna on 4759 2368 or Judith on 4757 2712. Save Medicare alliance NSW is sponsored by a range of community, religious, retiree and working family organisations.
Both Childs and Costa agreed that the $3 billion spent on the Private Health rebate could have been far better utilised in supporting the public health system.
Dr. Costa said the bottom line was the private sector wasn’t much good at helping sick people.
"All the good help is in the public system, which is being starved.”
"I think it’s important to remember that Kerry Packer wasn’t saved by a private hospital.”
For more comment contact Patrick O’Beirne on 4758 6493