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Govt Keeps Community Services Card

Today's Primary Health Care funding announcement is a smokescreen for the Government being forced to keep the Community Services Card, National Health Spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

"What today's announcement really says is that the Government is depriving 25,000 low income New Zealanders of subsidised health care through the community services card, but continuing to operate the card for at least another eight years because it can't afford to drop it.

"Last year the Government denied 48,000 low income New Zealanders access to the card, now it's only given it back to 23,000 of them.

"The Alliance has clearly lost its battle with Labour over free health care to school-age children. Alliance members said in January they would stand on this issue but they've once again rolled over for Labour.

"There is no new money to health in this announcement. Annette King talks about Primary Healthcare Organisations, the same imaginary PHOs she was talking about two years ago but nothing has happened. New Zealand has no PHOs operating so we don't have any idea where this money is going.

"National opposes the Community Services Card being phased out - if indeed that ever happens. Dropping the card means that high income New Zealanders will get free doctors' visits and that is not a good strategy for the provision of health care. Instead the Minister should be ensuring that low income New Zealanders have subsidised primary health care," Mr Sowry said.


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