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LABOR’S MEDICARE CANCER PLAN TO BENEFIT PATIENTS IN BLAIR

April 05, 2019

Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann MP, has welcomed the announcement that a Shorten Labor Government will deliver the biggest cancer care package in Australian history, with a $2.3 billion investment to dramatically slash out-of-pocket costs for cancer patients.

Mr Neumann said the one in two people in Blair who will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime deserved more support from Medicare.

“This year alone, more than 145,000 Australians will be diagnosed with some form of cancer.”

“The impact of cancer is felt across our region and the whole country.

“Many patients from Ipswich, the Somerset Region and the Karana Downs region require multiple, frequent scans over several years as part of their journey from diagnosis to remission, meaning their out-of-pocket costs can accumulate to many thousands of dollars.

This builds on the $21.4 million Cancer Care Centre the last Federal Labor Government committed to the Mater Hospital in Springfield.

“Labor has always worked hard to ensure that people in our community can access early cancer detection, treatment and care, and now we will continue to provide that with lower out-of-pocket costs to patients and their families.

Nearly half of cancer patients in Australia pay more than $5,000 in out-of-pocket costs over the course of their diagnosis and treatment. More than a quarter pay more than $10,000 out of their own pocket

“That’s why I’m proud to say that a Shorten Labor Government will decrease out-of-pocket costs for life-saving cancer scans by investing $600 million to dramatically expand access to MRI machines and boost Medicare rebates for diagnostic imaging, and $433 million to cut the cost of specialist consultations,” Mr Neumann said.

For Queensland, this will mean up to 1.2 million free scans and 603,000 specialist consultations with no out of pocket costs.

Under the current system people can only access subsidised scans on MRI machines that have a Medicare licence – Labor will scrap these barriers to life-saving scans.

This will mean that under Labor, if you need a cancer scan – every MRI machine, in every postcode, will be eligible for Medicare. This means scans that would normally cost hundreds of dollars will be free.

“This will have a huge impact in our region - the ABS has found more than 300,000 Australians skip radiology each year because of cost.

“Labor believes that it is your Medicare card, not your credit card that should determine your access to health services.

“That’s why only Labor will invest in more beds, doctors and nurses with our Better Hospitals Fund, cap private health insurance premiums for two years, end Scott Morrison’s Medicare freeze – and fund the biggest cancer care package in Australian history, making cancer care more affordable for people in Ipswich, the Somerset Region and the Karana Downs region,” Mr Neumann said.

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