Last month I wrote to Victorian MPs on behalf of the Victorian Medicare Action Group to ask their views on the federal government’s proposed $7 GP co-payment and their decision to renege on an agreement to increase federal funding for state run public hospitals from 2017.
The most startling response came from Health Minister David Davis, on behalf of the Victorian Coalition. He's clearly annoyed that we’ve drawn attention to federal issues, accusing VMAG of being a union front and the Labor leadership of being 'treacherous'.
These are important state issues because the GP co-payment would likely result in people avoiding going to the doctor and ending up in hospital emergency departments. With the Abbott government's decision to renege on an agreement to increase hospital funding in the future, the state government will have to find extra funding from elsewhere or cut hospital services.
The Victorian Coalition, like Labor and the Greens told VMAG they don’t support the proposed GP co-payment and no-one's happy about the Abbott government's decision on public hospital funding.
The agreement on hospital funding entered into by the Rudd government in 2011 was that the federal government would increase its share of funding from around 38 per cent to 45 per cent in 2014 and 50 per cent from 2017.
The ALP response to VMAG appears pleased with the opportunity to bag the Coalition, describing the Abbott government's decision as 'cuts to Victorian hospital funding [that] are going to have a devastating effect on Victoria’s health system’.
But Labor is far from blameless on federal cuts to hospital funding. It was a federal Labor government that tried to cut $107m in hospital funding to Victoria in 2012-13 despite the much lauded agreement to increase its share of funding for hospitals.
See the report I prepared for VMAG detailing the responses and giving some analysis here or send me an email if you'd like me to send you a copy.
VMAG is apolitical and has been around since 1990 promoting universal access to health care under Medicare. For more information go here