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Was ‘Mediscare’ really a lie?

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.

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  1. New England Cocky

    Another thought flatulence from the Morriscum Lazy Nasty People misgovernment.

  2. Kampbell

    Of course the Libs/ Nats they will sell everthing that isn’t nailed down. It is in their DNA. And the big crap bucket will be tipped straight after they win the election. Sorry, but I have a bad feeling about this election. The conservatives are emboldened by the USA model of rightwing rubbish and are openly using the same tactics. Lie all the time and see if you get away with it.

  3. Aortic

    And Greg Sheridan writes about ” the belligerent attacks by the left wing ABC on Tony Abbott and how much we will lose if he lost his seat.” Sweet tap dancing Jesus that’s all we need to be retained in Parliament, another knuckle scraping Catholic Neanderthal who is still not convinced of the need to effectively tackle climate problems because of its possible effect on the economy. What he and Abetz, Andrews, Bolt, Dean and dozens of others I could mention must realise we won’t have a precious economy if the earth is unliveable because of atmospheric pollution. It is self centred myopic selfish thinking and hopefully the alternative ALP government will appreciate thinking people’s concerns and instigate an effective regime to effect realistic change.

  4. king1394

    Remember the original of Medicare was Whitlam^s Medibank. It also was a universal public health scheme . Fraser privatised that and tried to insist that he was maintaining it in the only possible way.

  5. DrakeN

    Please, Aortic, stop dissing the neandertals.

    The 4.2% of neanderthal in my DNA comprises an nth degree greater intellect and vision than the whole of the right wing of politics combined.

    And I am not especially clever at the best of times.

  6. Kronomex

    The LNP has almost always relied upon the massive sugar hit of privatising to add cash to the bottom line. When it all falls apart they shrug and move on to the next deparment/service that can be sold off to get the sugar high again.

    Scummo? Jeez, it’s impossible to think of a single good thing to say about him.

    Urk…gag…choke…Feel sick…

  7. paul walter

    The opposition merely set the facts before the public. the real reason Turnbull squealed like a stuck pig was that it was true.

  8. Jon Chesterson

    Morrison is the pathological serial liar, just like Dutton, it is their business model. And he smirks and laughs as he does it, mocking us all knowing he will get away with it because he is a Liberal, it’s what they do best apart from wrecking the budget, the deficit, the economy, national debt, international relations, climate change, middle income and poorer Australians, Aboriginal people, refugees, humanitarian obligations, rule of law, shared benefits and burdens, infrastructure and resources, our future and Australian way of life.

    Did I mention Medicare and Centrelink, and the Banks and Serco were interested in some parts of Medicare administration, the money spinning and control bits? Is there any limit to what a Liberal Prime Minister of Australia can do? Perhaps we should make him President so he can put us all out of our misery altogether, and if we do, let’s just scrap elections and democracy too, as it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference. Morisson will lie, cheat and steal from us all any way and then tell us it was our fault or Labor’s. And if he doesn’t the next Liberal leader will do it, and the one after that.

    Who has been in power for the past 6 years and has there been a single beneficial outcome for it other than the lies we get spoon-fed each day to keep them in office?

  9. Frank Smith

    Right up there in the “biggest liar” stakes is the Master Liar Greg Hunt. Let us hope that Julia Banks does him enough harm that the Labor candidate comes through on her preferences.

  10. whatever

    I keep saying this, and I don’t know why people don’t acknowledge the fact, but……

    For almost a year, before Turnbull had a sook-attack about what he called “Mediscare” there were notices on the walls of every (bulk-billing) Medical Centre about tests and procedures that were no longer going to be covered by Medicare and would require cash payment.
    The changes were due to commence on the day of the election, in fact.

  11. Lawrence Winder

    The increase in fees, the limitations on services… taxation by stealth and privatization by stealth…what this rabble are very good at and always being shielded by a biased media… including now, the ABC….

  12. Peter F

    Note that nothing is ever sold to the unions.

  13. MöbiusEcko

    MSM lie in a tiny correction, unlike the massive headline spruiking the lie two days earlier.

  14. Kaye Lee

    Not only do they lie continually about important stuff like climate change and water management, they are amateur cowboys when it comes to foreign policy.

    An Australian diplomat in the Middle East described Morrison’s proposal to move our embassy to Jerusalem as “sticking our head above the parapet to see who shoots”. That is their approach to everything.

    When you make government policy based on what your marketing people tell you is a winner with focus groups or your donors/base or Murdoch and 2GB shock jocks, you are screwing over the nation (and the world) to further your own ambition, not to do what needs doing.

  15. Ill fares the land

    One thing that is really bugging me about this current election is that every word and act of Shorten is being subjcted to endless fact checks and scrutiny – even by the now brain-dead ABC who appears to be pandering to the LNP, whereas very little of the lies, obfuscations and (six-year history of) incompetence of the LNP Is being given the same level of attention. I expected that from the scurrilous Murdoch press, but the ABC still proclaims it is unbiased. Yeah right!!

    The Medicare proposal to outsoource services would have been another example of the classic private gouge – privatise profits and nationalise, or keep nationalised, risk and costs. This is privatisation by stealth and the outcome is ALWAYS the same – costs blow out and services decline or are, over time, cut. This happens with the NDIS – no-one seems to bring together all of the examples, but I am already aware of several service providers who have deliberately inflated their prices for NDIS clients/patients (e.g., medical proactices who have two separate fee schedules – one for “ordinary patients” and one for NDIS patients, and I’ve no doubt many others have seen this practice. It happens in every instance where the private sector is contractedand paid to supply a service previously provided by government.

  16. Kronomex

    The arsehole got caught with his stupid up and his pants down about nuclear and had to try and swing attention away from his now renowned bullshit and brain farts –

    All I can say is, Well, DUH! It is the LNP after all.”

  17. Terence Mills

    The former President of Nauru, currently in Australia receiving treatment for terminal cancer, has said that he regrets ever entering into the detention centre agreement with Gillard and says that it was only ever meant to be a short term measure but the hundreds of millions of dollars have turned it into a gravy-train for subsequent leaders.

    Ironic that he has to come to Australia for his treatment when the current Nauru government, with Australia’s encouragement, won’t allow detainees to travel to Australia for their urgent medical attention.

  18. George Villiers.

    Kaye Lee, 434….that is the unnerving thing, no sense of ethical or rational impetus; no “vision”, just silly game planning with little or no objective relative to reality involved.

    As a number of people have already asked, is this due to the consequences of living in an informational and cultural vacuum?

  19. Allcibiades

    Ill fares the land,
    ‘Tis ‘in your face’, blatant. 🙁

  20. Trevor

    Morriscum has earned this moniker by his ruthless indifference to Christian teachings as he lies with more lies to cover all his actions since his maiden speech.
    Morriscum is the epitome of the political hollowman that infects the body politic.
    He lies, he dissembles, he mocks the community he is sworn to serve and like most Liberals, their sense of entitlement is legendary.
    Morriscum and the LNP he leads represent a clear and present danger to Modern Australia.


  21. Kaye Lee

    I very much doubt that Morrison was ever chosen to be captain of anything before. And his promotion of ‘ScoMo’ makes me think he never had a nickname before. I think Scott is just as surprised as the rest of us that he is where he is, much as he may have lusted after the position. If he is the best we’ve got then it is no wonder we are scorned.

  22. Regional Elder

    Mad Marketeer Morrison’s self-designated and ostensibly folksy nickname of ‘ ScoMo’ is really beginning to morph into ‘Scare-Mo ‘ such is his enthusiasm to be alerting the electorate the disasters that will befall it, should Bill Shorten lead the next government.

    And via his constant reference to Shorten as a liar, he is simply drawing on the Tony Abbott tactic of cynically repeating a simple slogan, and trusting that the mud sticks in the minds of the electorate.

    But all the while, Morrison stands in the mire of the last 6 years of political incompetence and obfuscation, disunity, and a sheer paucity of policy that boils down to offering massive tax cuts for corporations, and its corollary, the steady movement towards the continuance of contracting out practices of public services to the private sector.

    These political puppets who really owe their power to the hold that the Murdoch mind has over large sections of the Australian electorate, need to be ousted.

    Then the real battle will begin if there is a change of government, as Labor attempts to implement its policies under the paranoid and jaundiced surveillance of the many media organs in Australia, of the non-taxpaying behemoth, NewsCorp.

    This article debunking the basis of the Coalition’s putative political indignation about Labor’s so-called Medi-Scare campaign at the last election is timely. In their systematic deception of the Australian electorate, they really have form. Scare-Mo, as an political agent of NewsCorp Inc. is now going all out, to Kill Bill.

  23. Stephengb

    We are heading to recession, possibly a western world depression (the third world has always been in depression they do not know different).

    Our private debt is massive (as is the rest of the western world), and our incomes have stagnated.

    If Labor win they will be blamed, but we cannot let this mob stay another term!

  24. DrakeN

    “If Labor win they will be blamed, …”

    A case of history repeating itself.

  25. Kaye Lee

    It’s only here they get blamed. The rest of the world applauded our economic management during the GFC, keeping people in jobs and cash injections to give everyone a little more to spend, keeping us out of the recession everyone else sunk into.

  26. Alcibiades

    It’s only here they get blamed.

    By the IPA = Murdoch & Corporates = LNP. Falsely yet relentlessly.:(

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