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Election 2016: Labor uses marginal Coalition seat to announce $1 billion health promise

The ABC’s Anna Henderson and Francis Keany report (22.5.16) on federal Labor’s announcement that it would scrap a government-proposed cut to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which would see an increase in the cost of some prescription medicines. The proposal had already been blocked in the Senate, but remains a feature of the government’s health platform.

‘Labor has used a marginal Coalition seat in Sydney today to reaffirm its opposition to imposing extra costs for some medicines, in the process taking a budget hit of close to $1 billion.

‘The 2014 Abbott government budget included a proposal for Australians to pay an extra $5 towards the cost of each Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescription, and for concession card holders to pay an extra 80 cents.

‘The plan, which also included changes to safety net thresholds, was projected to save $1.3 billion, but was blocked in the Upper House.

‘Labor has long railed against the plan, which it has characterised as a “medicines tax” that would lead to a US-style health system.’

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