PM scraps Medicare outsourcing plans

Pressure from Labor has forced the Coalition to abandon plans to outsource payment system

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has bowed to pressure from the Labor Party, announcing the government has scrapped plans to outsource the Medicare payments system to the private sector.

Since 2014, the government has been considering privatising Medicare payments as a way of upgrading the system, which is reaching its use-by date, and saving money along the way.

Labor has used these plans to fuel its campaign against health cuts, arguing that the Coalition government plans to privatise the health sector.

Mr Turnbull spoke out against the suggestions on Saturday 18 June, saying Labor’s campaign is “disgraceful” and Medicare would “never ever” be privatised under his government.

“Every element of Medicare, every aspect of Medicare that is delivered by the government today will continue to be delivered by the government in the future,” he said.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has made health – and Medicare in particular – a priority for his election platform.

“If you want to know why this election will make a difference to you, your family, your street, your workplace, to Australia’s future, I can give you the answer of why politics matters in one word: Medicare,” Shorten said at the Labor Party’s official campaign launch on Sunday 19 June.

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