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Funding Change To GP Visits Will Subsidise Wealthy

17 June 2002

Govt Funding Change To GP Visits Will Subsidise Wealthy

The Government's proposals to force GPs to join new primary health organisations will be funding the rich and disadvantage the poor, National Health Spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

"The PHO proposal means well-off people who use a GP practice that qualifies for the funding will be subsidised, while low income people who need subsidised health care but attend a practice that doesn't qualify will miss out.

"Many GP practices don't want to join a PHO because they see them as an unnecessary and costly bureaucracy.

"A PHO qualifies for funding if half its enrolled patients are Maori, Pacific Island or high priority. Because all the patients at the practice then qualify for the subsidy regardless of their need we are going to see people moving across towns and cities for cheaper healthcare.

"Health dollars must go to people who need them. We should be targeting need not dishing money out depending on whether a medical practice has joined the Government's new ideologically driven PHO bureaucracy.

"It makes no sense to spend the precious health dollar this way.

"The Government has criticised National's Community Services Card which subsidised health services to low income New Zealanders. This new system subsidises the rich.

"Health dollars must go to people who need them. We should be targeting need not dishing money out depending on whether a medical practice has joined the Government's new ideologically driven PHO bureaucracy," Mr Sowry said.


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