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Issue #1627      February 19, 2014

Stop Abbott, save Medicare

(Photo: Anna Pha)

Around 500 people braved the rain to join the “Stop Abbott, Save Medicare” rally in Sydney on Saturday February 15 outside the Sydney Town Hall. The rally was supported by health and other unions, Unions NSW, the Doctors’ Reform Society (DRS), and other groups affected by the Coalition’s cuts. Speakers from the unions, DRS, Labor and Indigenous groups spoke out strongly against the Abbott government’s cuts and in defence of bulk-billing and the dangers of the introduction of a co-payment for GP visits. The long-term agenda is an Americanisation of the health system, with two tiers depending on income and a takeover of Medicare by the private health insurance funds. The rally was reminded of the horrors of pre-Medicare days when people could not pay medical bills while, today, a sick child can be taken to the GP and the parent bulk-billed. There were also calls for the government to stop over-paying pharmaceutical companies under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, to reduce costs, and for dental services to be fully incorporated under Medicare.

Next article – “Blame the victim” policy backfires

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