What a bunch of cowards. To avoid yet another embarrassing defeat in the senate, the PM capitulates on the proposed reduction of the Medicare rebate and sends out the new girl, the one with the least experience, to announce their incompetence to the world. What cowardice!
Tony Abbott couldn’t even stand beside her in support. Or, did she prefer that he didn’t?
“I’ve heard, I’ve listened and I’m deciding to take this action now. It’s off the table and I stand ready to engage, to consult, and to talk to the sector,” she said. Really?
If ever the new Minister for Health looked like the sacrificial offering to a media that would have much preferred to grill Peter Dutton, Sussan Ley was it. Yet Dutton, who quietly introduced this back door decision by regulation just two days before Christmas, was nowhere to be seen.
Another day in government, another painful backflip. In an earlier article of mine a respondent expressed his uncertainty as to whether this government was just chronically stupid or were they evil. I told him they were likely both. They were mostly stupid but when that failed, they turned to evil.
This most recent saga vindicates that claim. The reduction of the rebate for consultations, which was yet another attempt to inflict pain on the most vulnerable, was doomed from the start. There was no consultation with the medical profession, just a quietly executed decision to impose a further burden on GPs with a planned starting date ahead of introducing the bill before parliament.
The government’s pathetic attempts to make adjustments to Medicare are more pythonesque than John Cleese and the Monty team could have created. Firstly a $7 co- payment, then a $5 cut in rebates for consultations and now this vindictive act of deception, all of which have resulted in failure.
How embarrassing too for Bruce Billson MP who went on the front foot in support of the reduction only to find himself up the well-known creek in a canoe, possibly made by the Adelaide shipyards, but without a paddle.
Mis-management of this magnitude in the corporate world would be terminal. No responsible board of directors could tolerate such incompetence. Yet we, the long suffering people, who manage our affairs with calculated precision or pay the price, are forced to wince in pain at what we can best describe as a comedy routine turned sour.
The government is insisting that if Labor continues to block these measures in the Senate, it should propose an alternative. Really? Labor is not in government and is not in the business of helping the government out of this, or any other, hole it digs for itself. But I’d be happy to.
Increasing the Medicare levy is one possible answer. But not for those earning less than $50,000 a year. A modest increase from 1.5% to 2% for those earning $50,001 to $100,000. An increase from 1.5% to 2.5% for those earning $100,001 to $200,000. And an increase from 1.5% to 3% for those earning above $200,000 per annum. I am sure that will go a long way to covering the $10 billion shortfall they are trying to fill. If it doesn’t, then they might take more than a cursory glance at the $300 private health insurance rebate. Really boys and girls, it’s not that hard.
Is it any wonder Bill Shorten is now the preferred prime minister even though he has done nothing to deserve it? How much more would the voters prefer him if he stuck his head up and fired a few cannons instead of water pistols? It’s not as if he doesn’t have the ammunition.
How much more of this ineptitude are we expected to endure?
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