By Kirsty Machon
National Policy Manager
Optometry Australia has joined with medical practitioners to make a fair Medicare one of the key talking points for the 2016 election, supporting the call to ‘Stop the Freeze’ on rebates with an online petition and practice resources.
Members are encouraged to sign and promote the petition, and to use the downloadable posters and fact sheets, which have been produced to highlight the effects of freezing patient rebates, and call for the reinstatement of annual indexation.
Optometry Australia has been actively calling for the reinstatement of indexation, first frozen under the previous Labor government. The effort has been ramped up following a decision, announced in the Coalition government’s May 2016 federal budget, to extend the freeze until 2020.
Optometry Australia has strongly expressed its concerns about the impact of the freeze to the Federal Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, shadow health minister Catherine King, and the Greens’ health spokesperson, Dr Richard di Natale.
The president of Optometry Australia, Kate Gifford, last week welcomed ‘encouraging’ news that the Labor Party had committed to reinstating annual indexation if elected on July 2. She said it was important for members to continue to highlight the issue over the coming weeks.
‘We have been actively lobbying both the Coalition government and the federal Labor opposition to reinstate indexation, in line with CPI, for some time,’ Ms Gifford said. ‘We continue to call on the Coalition to stop the freeze. You can help, by signing our petition, encouraging colleagues or concerned patients to sign it, or by writing to your local MP.’
The Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners have led the call from the medical profession to stop the extended freeze.
‘Optometrists, along with our health practitioner colleagues, are a crucial part of a healthy Australia, so we encourage you to sign and promote the petition, and download our poster and Fact Sheet,’ Ms Gifford said.
‘Lend your voice to this campaign, so we make it loud and clear.’
Stop the Freeze Resources for members