Putting members’ health before profit

Letter to the Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

Letters to the Editor

Saturday 11 February, 2012

Rebate cuts will impact on services

Missing in the debate about changes to the private health insurance rebate is an understanding that the vast majority of Australians with private health insurance are not rich (”End to medical rebate will cost $1300 a year”, February 10). However, as others drop or downgrade their health insurance as a result of the rebate changes, all Australians will be forced to pay higher premiums.

Also missing is an understanding that many private health insurers are not-for-profit restricted and regional funds, which my organisation represents. Higher premium increases will mean some members will inevitably drop or downgrade their insurance.

The other inevitable consequence of people departing private health insurance is the added pressure that will be placed on the public health system.

Independent MPs thinking of supporting the rebate changes should also consider the negative impact on specialists working in private hospitals in rural and regional Australia. As people leave private health insurance, private hospitals in country Australia will have reduced capacity to attract and retain specialists.

Ron Wilson hirmaa

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