Edited by Nelly Tawil
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed he is working to rectify Tony Abbott’s grievous hospital funding cuts.
Although he wouldn’t confirm any dollar figure, reports imply it’ll cost $5 billion.
Mr. Turnbull is expected to meet state premiers and territory chief ministers in Canberra later this week to give a proposal to maintain activity-based funding and a national efficient price.
As many might remember Mr. Abbott’s disastrous 2014/15 budgets based public hospital funding on the inflation rate and population growth, an arrangement that many health professionals and states regard as unmaintainable.
Some states are supposedly confident they will be offered a four-year hospital funding agreement to 2020 based on the original formula agreed under the Gillard Labor government.
“(We’ll) ensure that Australians get the best care in hospitals and that hospitals are delivering that care to Australian patients as efficiently and effectively as we can,” Mr. Turnbull said.
Despite Liberals attempts to correct the situation it’s predecessor caused, opposition health spokeswoman Catherin King points out that $5 billion fell exceedingly short of what Labor agreed to fund it when it was in government.
She went so far as to say to Brisbane reporters that these actions were “not about patients” but an attempt “to get Malcolm Turnbull through the next election.”
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill says he’s received a preliminary call from Mr. Turnbull and understands there may be an interim offer.
However the fact remains that a $5 billion bandaid is being used for a $57 billion dollar problem.
The first budget included $57 billion in cuts to hospitals over the next decade and was received by Joe Hockey, former treasurer in May 2014 when Mr. Abbott was prime minister.
In contrast the new deal will be secured to a tax reform proposal under which the states will be offered a share of income tax beyond 2020 to fund health and education.
Mr. Weatherill has released figures showing tens of thousands of patients will be left untreated if the hospital funding black hole isn’t filled.
Reports found by Ernst Young predicts that by 2024/25 more than 107,000 patients will be left untreated by the public system each year as a result of the $4 billion cut to the state hospitals.
“It was a substantial reason for Mr. Abbott’s demise and it remains the unfinished business of Mr. Turnbull’s leadership,” he said.
Mr. Weatherill is still pushing for the GST to be part of tax reform talks.