Health care professionals and residents across the Hunter are today marking the anniversary of the introduction of Medicare – an occasion which changed the nature of health care in this country.

33 years ago Medicare commenced under the Hawke Labor Government, ensuring that every Australian could access quality health care no matter their circumstances.

Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon said it is timely to reflect on the role of Medicare in making our health system what it is today.

“Medicare is the heart and soul of our universal health care system and the envy of many countries around the world,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“Medicare ensures people can access life-saving treatment when they need it. Last year around 21 million Australians accessed Medicare services – including GP visits, vital tests and scans, and hospital treatments.”

Mr Fitzgibbon is proud of Labor’s history in introducing Medicare and that Labor will always fight to protect Medicare.

“This anniversary is also a reminder of the need to ensure that access to health care is determined by an individual’s Medicare card – not their credit card,” he said.

“We don’t want our health care system to go down the path of America’s, where an individual’s capacity to pay determines whether they get the treatment they need.

“Malcolm Turnbull can give Medicare the ultimate birthday present by dropping his cuts which will see bulk billing drop and residents in the Hunter pay more.”

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