Election 2022: Anthony Albanese announces plan for Medicare

Anthony Albanese has announced a nearly $1 billion election promise that he says will make it easier and more affordable to see the doctor.

Anthony Albanese promised to create a “strengthening Medicare fund” to make it easier and more affordable to see a primary care doctor.

The opposition leader has also promised practices grants of up to $50,000 to make improvements.

This $750m fund and grant commitments of $220m have been welcomed by Australia’s powerful medical professional body ahead of its announcement on Saturday, a stark contrast to when it criticized Labour’s 50 clinic plan. urgent care last month after not being consulted.

The Australian Medical Association, which has been campaigning to “modernize Medicare” during the election, said the Labor Party’s latest compromise would put general practice on a path to a more “sustainable” future.

“The primary care fund announced today by ALP, if implemented, is a strong down payment that will help realize the recently completed 10-year primary health care plan, a plan that has remained completely unfunded by the government.” AMA President Omar Khorshid said. , referencing a policy announced by Scott Morrison in 2019.

“ALP’s primary care fund commitment will enable investment in programs that will improve access to services for patients, including after-hours GP services and the workforce incentive program.

“We welcome ALP’s commitment to work with the AMA on the implementation of primary care reform.”

The new Medicare fund, which would cost $250 million every 12 months from 2023-24 for three years, would aim to improve access to doctors and nurses and better handle complex conditions.

It would follow the recommendations of a working group, chaired by the health minister, which would decide “immediately” on priorities for solving what Labor says is a “general practitioner crisis”.

Another $220 million would go to a grant program for GPs, which would allow them to upgrade IT systems, train staff, buy new equipment and improve their infection control and ventilation.

Smaller practices could get grants of up to $25,000, while larger GPs could get one of $50,000.

“Every day, wherever I go, people tell me that it’s getting harder and harder to see a doctor,” Albanese said.

“General practice is the cornerstone of the Australian health system.

“Australians trust their GPs. It’s a vital relationship to ensure all Australians get the quality health care they deserve.

“Only Labor has a plan to make it easier for Australians to see their GPs and to strengthen Medicare.”

In April, the AMA said it was unconvinced by Labour’s other plan, announced in the first week of the campaign, to develop 50 urgent care centers across Australia to ease pressure on emergency departments.

“These centers will do little to alleviate hospital gridlock, further fragmenting care and unfairly competing with nearby general practices that, without this government funding, will not be able to keep their doors open after hours,” said Dr. Khorshid at that time. .

Originally published as Election 2022: Anthony Albanese announces plan for Medicare

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