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Private Hospitals For All?

Private Hospitals For All?

Friday 5 Dec 2003
Richard Prebble
Press Releases -- Health

ACT Leader Richard Prebble today praised the statement by Social Welfare Minister, Steve Maharey, that he was considering referring sickness beneficiaries on state waiting hospital lists to private hospitals, where the cost of the operation would be lower to the taxpayer than the cost of the lengthy time on benefits.

"This is an idea the ACT party promoted last election. It makes no financial sense for the government to be paying a welfare benefit to people who could return to work if they had an operation. The Accident Compensation Corporation has saved tens of millions of dollars a year since it introduced a policy of paying for private hospital operations in order to return people to work earlier."

Mr Prebble said he didn't want to engage in personal politics by pointing out that Labour actually campaigned against the use of private hospitals. Instead Mr Prebble said that if Steve Maharey, one of the more dedicated socialists in the Labour Cabinet, had seen the light and realised that the private sector could both reduce hospital waiting lists and save the taxpayer money, then who knows one day the Greens might be sensible.

"I do have to point out that if it makes sense for accident victims and sickness beneficiaries to have their operations done more quickly and cheaply in private hospitals, then why not have the same service available to the rest of us," said Mr Prebble

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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