Labor has confirmed that it will slash the patient rebate for private health insurance by $115 million on 1 July 2019 forcing hundreds of thousands of Australians to pay back their rebate or forcing up the cost of the cover by over up to 16%.

This will hit pensioners, people earning under $50,000 a year and people living in rural and remote areas the hardest by ripping away the rebate for their entry and middle level policies.

Labor has today revealed that it will bring forward its cut to the rebate to 1 July 2019 which will mean that people who have already paid for the insurance for this year and received the benefit of the rebate will need to pay back their money to Bill Shorten.

This will be an administrative nightmare, taking back people’s money – and once more Labor is caught out on the detail of its policies and the implementation.

Last time in Government, Labor slashed $4 billion for private health insurance, and throughout this campaign they have refused to commit to retaining the full rebate.

Today’s revelation in the costings, is a return to Labor’s opposition to private health insurance.

This is a double blow for pensioners, retirees and families who will also be slugged by Labor’s plans for billions of dollars in higher taxes – on their housing, incomes, investments, family businesses, electricity and cars.

Over recent weeks Bill Shorten and Opposition Health spokesperson, Catherine King, have repeatedly refused to rule out slashing the patient rebate for private health insurance.

Bill Shorten must come clean and acknowledge the people who will be hardest hit by cuts to the patient rebate for private health insurance.

Does Bill Shorten know that the people hardest hit by cuts to the patient rebate are low income earners?

  • almost half of all people with private health insurance have an annual income under $50,000
  • more than one quarter of all people with private health insurance have an annual income under $30,000
  • over 267,000 pensioners with an annual income under $30,000 have private health insurance
  • there are more than 124,000 retirees living off their superannuation with an annual income less than $50,000 who have retained their PHI

Bill Shorten must come clean with the Australian people

  • how many Australians will pay more for their private health insurance on 1 July this year because of his cuts?
  • How much more will they pay?
  • Is he aware that many people may need to pay back money because they have already paid for their insurance this year?
  • Will he categorically rule out any further cuts to the rebate?

New data has revealed that any plans by Bill Shorten to further slash the patient rebate for private health insurance would hit pensioners and low income earners on under $50,000 a year the hardest, forcing up the cost of their health insurance by up to $2,000.

Health care experts have slammed Labor’s plans and warned of the impact of the policy.

The rebate is critical to maintaining balance in our mixed public/private health system and keeping pressure off public hospitals.

Further changes to the PHI rebate will push premiums up by 16%, force low and middle income earners to drop their cover and increase pressure on public hospital wait lists.

CEP Private Healthcare Australia said “More than half of the 13.5 million people who hold PHI have disposable incomes under $50,000 per annum. Many of them are full pensioners and superannuants who are making considerable sacrifices to maintain their health insurance and they rely on the means-tested PHI rebate. There should be no changes to the rebate.”

Australians have seen this before. When last in Government Labor promised not to touch private health insurance and then cut the rebate by $4 billion.

Labor hates private health insurance and have taken an axe to it under Hawke, Keating, Rudd, Gillard, Rudd.