Sunday, February 11, 2007

Labor warns on health insurance hikes - Breaking News - National - Breaking News

Labor warns on health insurance hikes - Breaking News - National - Breaking News: "A government-backed expansion of private health insurance cover is likely to lead to more premium increases, Labor says.

Legislation supporting the government's Broader Health Cover proposal, which would allow privately insured patients to receive hospital cover for services conducted outside hospitals, was debated in the lower house.

While supporting the plan, opposition health spokeswoman Nicola Roxon said the expansion of services offered would likely lead to further rises in the cost of cover.

Roxon said the majority of Australians did not have private health insurance and so would be excluded from the extension of services.

In an amendment listing Labor's complaints, Roxon blasted the last budget's $50 million allocation for private health insurers to advertise their products.

'This is a disgraceful waste of taxpayers' money and of scarce health resources,' she told parliament.

'These are private businesses who can easily advertise their own products.'

But Health Minister Tony Abbott hit back during parliamentary question time, saying premium rises were much higher under the last Labor government.

'Labor are the task masters of premium increases,' Mr Abbott said.

He said premiums rose 19 per cent in 1987, 17 per cent in 1992 an"

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