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Community Services Card to be reviewed

23 April 2001 Media Statement

Community Services Card to be reviewed


Health Minister Annette King announced today that the Cabinet has increased funding for Community Services Card provision to ensure that no superannuitant or beneficiary loses their entitlement to it as a result of the social security adjustments which took effect from 1 April.

Annette King also said that the Cabinet had decided to review the future of the Community Services Card.

"In the Government's view, the card has always been a blunt instrument in terms of securing access to affordable health care for low income New Zealanders.

"The former Government introduced the Card as a sop to low income New Zealanders at the time they introduced market-based reforms and user pays to hospital services. The card has been used as the main mechanism to attract government subsidies for GP care, but the Government believes that we must move from a fee for service model to population-focused capitation funding.

"We have got to restore a sense of fairness and balance to health funding for low-income New Zealanders."

"The National Health Committee report on primary care, issued last year, and the Government's own Primary Health Care Strategy both flagged the need to move to a population focus, and this direction received a high level of support from the health sector.

"We must ensure we spend our primary health care dollars where they do the most good," Annette King said.

ENDS



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