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UnitedFuture’s plan to cut waiting lists

Media statement
Embargoed to 3pm
Monday, 14 April 2008

UnitedFuture’s plan to cut waiting lists

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne has used a speech to the Private Surgical Hospitals Association’s conference in Wellington today to announce major policy initiatives his party will be promoting to cut waiting lists for elective surgery.

Under UnitedFuture’s plan:

* People over 65 will be guaranteed elective surgery in a public hospital within six months, otherwise the public system will be required to contract with the private sector to provide the surgery.

* Over time, this will be extended to become universal.

* Private medical insurance premium costs will be tax deductible for those 65 years and older.

* The treatment of medical insurance cover provided as part of an employment package will be reviewed.

* The feasibility of establishing a national taxpayer funded health insurance scheme to cover the provision of elective and pharmaceuticals will be investigated, including, if and when KiwiSaver becomes compulsory, an increase in the KiwiSaver contribution rate, to be offset by a corresponding reduction in marginal tax rates, to fund the health insurance scheme.

Mr Dunne told the conference that, “We have seen one of the biggest increases in expenditure in Vote:Health over the last decade to record levels of $11 billion a year, with no commensurate increase in the quality of services provided.

“Those levels of increased expenditure cannot be continued indefinitely into the future.”

He said that New Zealand was not big enough for the “the luxury of two stand-alone health systems.

“We therefore need to be looking to the effective utilisation of all our health resources to provide the best levels of care and treatment.

“This includes the public sector, as well as the private and voluntary sectors, and a fair measure of personal responsibility as well.”

Mr Dunne it was not about which one is dominant over the other – “our health system will always be predominantly publicly provided and funded” – but much more about how the various elements contribute to the effective delivery of healthcare services overall.


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