An obviously still bitter Coalition, amplified by a compliant media, have decided to use Labor’s so-called ‘Mediscare’ campaign last election as a reason to call Bill Shorten a liar.
As Medicare does not make a profit, it obviously could not be sold. So what did they mean by the Coalition want to privatise Medicare?
In January 2015, the SMH reported that “Tens of thousands more Australian public service jobs are to be sized-up for potential privatisation as the Abbott government begins work on its contestability program”.
“Medicare, Centrelink and some Veterans Affairs payment services may be taken over by private players.”
In February 2016, Andrew Probyn wrote an article titled Govt eyes massive Medicare, health privatisation, in which he revealed that “Medicare, pharmaceutical and aged-care benefits would be delivered by the private sector under an extraordinary transformation of health services being secretly considered by the Federal Government.”
“The West Australian has learnt that planning for the ambitious but politically risky outsourcing of government payments is well-advanced, with a view to making it a key feature of Treasurer Scott Morrison’s first Budget in May.”
Despite concerns about access to very private information – private companies would administer claims and payments while overseeing eligibility criteria – and warnings of thousands of job losses, the government pressed ahead with a proposal for a “proof of concept” trial of its $50 billion-plus outsourcing with companies like the big banks, Telstra and Serco expressing interest.
The rationale was that the private sector would be “faster and more efficient” and would therefore, some time in the future after huge set-up costs to rebuild data and payment systems, save the government money.
The Australian reported Health Minister Sussan Ley had commissioned “business innovation and technology experts” to consider new ways to process Medicare benefits.
When, during the election campaign, Labor rightly drew attention to the government’s plan to outsource/privatise the payment system, Turnbull was forced to scrap his plans.
The campaign included sending out text messages that said “Mr Turnbull’s plans to privatise Medicare will take us down the road of no return. Time is running out to save Medicare.”
Robocalls from Ged Kearney said “I’m really concerned that under the Turnbull Government our hospitals are under threat” pointing out that the Coalition was “ripping $57 billion out of our hospitals.”
“Please this election, vote to save Medicare and vote to save our public hospitals,” she said.
Anyone who mistakenly thought that the government was going to sell off Medicare obviously has no clue what Medicare does. You can’t sell a government system paid for by a levy on taxpayers that costs tens of billions to run each year. There is nothing to sell. It isn’t a profit-making venture.
But the government could, and almost did, decide to pay private companies to provide the payment service and determine the eligibility criteria putting the medical records of all Australians into private for-profit companies’ hands. It also used the 2014 budget to cut promised funding to public hospitals. And it grabbed the first opportunity to sell off Medibank Private which was actually a profitable business.
Scott Morrison, as he rails about Shorten being a liar, assures us that he has never intentionally told a lie. Well there’s one for starters.
He is lying that the budget is back in surplus. He is lying that we are on track to meet our emissions reduction targets. He lied about Save the Children staff encouraging children to self-harm. He lied about the circumstances surrounding the murder of Reza Barati. He lied that he was not part of the leadership spills. He lied about the Medivac Bill leading to a wave of rapists, murderers and pedophiles invading our shores. And that is just a small selection.
If this election is to be about trust, the Coalition deserve to be sent into oblivion.
Like what we do at The AIMN?
You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.
Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!