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Fully funded public healthcare must be protected

Fully funded public healthcare must be protected for the future
Health
08 October 2004
Topic: Jim Anderton's Press Releases

The health funding issues raised in the National Business Review today result from severe under-funding of health over the 1980s and 1990s and serve as a reminder that fully funded public healthcare must be protected in the future, says Progressive leader Jim Anderton.

The NBR today ran an article on the ageing population and youth obesity as a 'ticking time bomb' for health funding. While the ageing population and obesity are of concern, the real issue is addressing serious previous years' under-funding.

"Poorly supported public health care in the past has left a huge hole in health funding, which we need to address in order to ensure a healthy future for all.

"In 1975, health accounted for 16.5 per cent of government expenditure. By 1990, this had been eroded to 12.9 per cent and it is only now, after five years of progressive government, that we are now again approaching the levels of investment that we had back in 1975," Jim Anderton said.

It is forecast that by 2005 government investment in health will total 15.5 per cent of its total expenditure, up from 14.9 per cent in 2004. Year upon year of under-funding is the cause of the current need to spend more on healthcare.

"The Labour Progressive government is making significant strides in addressing this gap with heavily increased health funding since 1999.

"Progressive policy supports even bigger increases in preventative health care. By catching health problems early we will save money and reduce suffering for New Zealanders in the future. That is why we negotiated for and won cheap doctors visits for all New Zealanders.

"Paying private providers with public money, as suggested by the NBR, is not a long-term solution.

"The only long-term solution is to fully fund the public healthcare system. The health and well-being of all New Zealanders is a major social and economic responsibility of the government," Jim Anderton said.

Health policy is a priority for the Progressive Party, which is currently developing new initiatives in this area.

ENDS

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