AMA (WA) speaks with opposition spokesman on key health issues

AMA (WA) speaks with opposition spokesman on key health issues

Monday 8 July 2013


The Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon. Peter Dutton, visited the AMA (WA) last week to discuss a range of vital health-related issues including the Government’s plan to cap tax deductions for self-education expenses.


AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong and members of the Executive quizzed Mr Dutton on a range of important issues, including general political issues such as the likely release date for the Opposition’s health policy.


However, a significant portion of the meeting was spent discussing the education expense reform, a policy Mr Dutton admitted would not have been initiated by the Coalition.


While he was not in a position to promise the reverse the Government’s plan without a full consideration of the economic position of the nation, he did tell the meeting that there were a number of issues that would be reviewed if the Opposition won government at the next election.


Discussion on the following topics also took place:


Private Health Insurance Rebates: The AMA (WA) wants the Coalition to reverse means testing on private health insurance, and fears that members of the public will be motivated to drop their private health insurance cover due to the decision to drop the 30 per cent refund on Lifetime Health Cover Loading.


Medicare Locals: The AMA (WA) does not support Medicare Locals and views them as another layer of health bureaucracy, not the cost-effective primary health care service they purport to be.


FIFO research: The AMA (WA) has shed light on the alarming lack of research in the health effects of the Fly In, Fly Out lifestyle, arguing that a minimum of $15 million over 3 years in funding needs to be allocated to this crucial research. 


Medicare Rebate: The Association is concerned with the current freeze on the idexation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule, stating that the freeze will force doctors to stop bulk-billing their patients and push up out-of pocket costs.


AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong said that health needed to be a focal point in the upcoming election campaign.


“A focus on health is vital in ensuring we continue providing the best possible healthcare,” Dr Choong said.


“We have voiced our major concerns to Mr Dutton and he has indicated that he will take them on board.”


“Hopefully the Coaltion has the foresight to reverse some of the damage done to our health system by the current Government, and return Australia’s status as one of the best healthcare providers in the world,” Dr Choong said.


More details on the meeting with Mr Dutton and the proposed cap on self-education tax deduction will be published in the upcoming edition of Medicus.

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"It is my hope that we can tackle the challenges our profession faces, united as one. If we dislike our working hours, our pay, gender inequality or low training opportunities, we can change these together. As a nurse in my previous life, I know that when a profession stands as one, people listen."
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