Last night the e-Health proponents probably had a major blow.
Senate votes down $1.9bn health cuts
Siobhain Ryan | September 10, 2009
Article from: The Australian
THE Senate has dealt a $1.9billion blow to Kevin Rudd's health budget by rejecting plans to means-test taxpayer rebates for private health cover and increase levies on the non-insured.
The Coalition, the Greens, independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Family First senator Steve Fielding combined to defeat the three budget bills, which would have raised health fund premiums for more than two million middle- to higher-income Australians.
Manager of Government Business in the Senate Joe Ludwig appealed to balance-of-power crossbenchers ahead of the vote to pass the savings measure, which the Coalition had long vowed to oppose.
"This is a hard decision and one that was not taken lightly, but it is the right decision for Australia's long-term economic future," Senator Ludwig said. But the government offered no compromises, which sealed the package's fate.
In the process it has set up a potential trigger for an early election, if the bills are knocked back a second time ahead of the measure's July 2010 start date.
Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon told question time yesterday the Coalition's intransigence on the rebate and other budget cuts in her portfolio had put future health reform at risk. "Nearly $2.5bn of money that could be better used in health is currently being blocked by the Liberal Party in the Senate," shesaid.
On August 19, 2009 Ms Roxon linked the passage of this bill to e-Health funding.
“Better information means better and safer health treatments for patients.
Our reform plans, including those on e-health, will not come cheap.
The Reform Commission has put the price tag of an Individual Electronic Health Record at between $1.1 and 1.8 billion. That’s serious money, and it will require serious consideration on how it could be funded.
Coincidently, you may have noticed that this week in the Senate that the Government is attempting to pass its changes to the private health insurance rebate.
We are trying to change the rebate provided to high income earners with private health insurance – for example couples who earn over a quarter of a million dollars – which is estimated to save the Government $1.9 billion.
So as you can see, the E- health reforms are an example of what we could pay for if the private health insurance measure is passed
You might consider placing a call to your local Coalition or Independent Senator to point this out.”
A bit sad about that. We clearly need another hollow log to be located!