Govt Will Have To Keep Community Services Card
The Government is expected to keep the Community Services Card it strongly criticised last year, and increase the qualification threshold, National Health Spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.
Last year the Government said it would drop the card National had introduced to ensure low income people had access to subsidised health care. "Annette King messed up when she didn't raise the income threshold for access to the card in line with inflation, giving the excuse that she was going to scrap the card.
Describing it as the 'poor card', a 'blunt instrument' and a 'very crude' way to provide primary health care for low income New Zealanders, Annette King promised a better system.
"But she is now stumped - she can't drop the card because that means providing specialised doctor visits to all New Zealanders when she has no more money to spend on health care.
"The Government must come clean as to why four months after a review on the community services card was due to be completed, there is no announcement on its future. The Greens demanded the card be dropped and now the Government is stuck between a rock and a hard place over its future.
Mr Sowry called on the Government to inflation adjust the income levels for access to the community services card for last year and this year. "With the inflation adjustment for superannuation and other benefits due to be announced any day, I hope the Government is not once again forgetting low income New Zealander who need the inflation adjustment for continued access to the community services card.
"After two years in Government and empty promises, Labour still has not done anything about replacing the card. A large number of the 48,000 who missed out on the community services card last year will miss out again while the Government procrastinates," Mr Sowry said.