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Labour says National should be ashamed

Labour says National should be ashamed

Health Minister Annette King says National should be ashamed that people aged between 25 and 64 who earn $30,000 a year or more will have to pay the same amount to see a doctor as National health spokesperson Paul Hutchison, who earns more than $100,000 a year.

"Paul Hutchison confirmed on television last night that anyone earning over $30,000 would have to pay top dollars for doctors visits and prescriptions.

"That is disgraceful. The $10 a week tax cut these people might receive under National will not go far once the health bills start rolling in. Paul Hutchison, of course, gets a $92 a week tax cut, so he won't find it hard to pay. It's hard to believe anyone earning $30,000 a year is rich.

“The really interesting thing is that the age groups who will miss out under National in terms of affordable primary health care are the very age groups where much of the epidemic of chronic disease, such as diabetes and heart and respiratory disease, begins.

“These are the people we want to be accessing doctors. The last thing we want to do is to put up financial barriers for them. The country will pay in the end with an increased burden of disease and increased reliance on the far more expensive hospital system. It just doesn’t make sense.

"I agree with Northland doctors, who said last week that they were appalled by National's approach to primary health care, and that Northlanders could not afford large doctors bills. Those doctors said that the value of Labour's universal subsidy is that it shifts the community focus on to prevention."

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