New Minister challenged on Medicare

Mental health and Medicare—on which he has already been challenged by stakeholders—are two key issues for the new Minister for Health and Sport, he said today

In a press release Greg Hunt said that “health touches the lives of every Australian”.

“It is essential that people can see a doctor when they need to and have medicine when they are not well,” Minister Hunt says.

“For this reason, I am deeply honoured to take on this new and very important responsibility.

“My mother was a nurse. My wife is a nurse. All my life I have witnessed the absolute dedication of Australia’s medical professionals.

“I now look forward to working with our excellent nurses, doctors, researchers, and all our healthcare professionals.”

Minister Hunt says that he believes “deeply” in the importance of Medicare.

“It is key to Australia’s successful healthcare system.

“The Turnbull Government has a rock solid commitment to the fundamental role that Medicare plays in our health system.

“Mental health is an issue that is very close to my heart. I want to be a strong advocate for greater understanding and community awareness, and to ensure we have the necessary resources to help deal with this very important issue.”

Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King welcomed the Minister to his new position but had some advice…

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also had a suggestion:

AMA president Dr Michael Gannon says that Mr Hunt faces many challenges from day one in his new job.

“The AMA would like to see Mr Hunt get off to a flying start by scrapping the Government’s freeze of Medicare patient rebates, which is causing great hardship for patients and doctors,” Dr Gannon said.

“The new Minister must also quickly get across the many reviews instigated by his predecessor, most importantly the review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the review of Private Health Insurance, which are key to the sustainability of our health system.

“The ongoing issue of public hospital funding is another priority, along with Indigenous health, mental health, and prevention.”

Meanwhile Ken Wyatt, who was promoted this morning from Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, thanked his supporters.

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