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Affordable Healthcare Bill defeat disappoints


December 3, 2015
MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Affordable Healthcare Bill defeat disappoints – HFANZ

Health insurers have expressed their regret that the New Zealand First-sponsored Affordable Healthcare Bill failed to get past its first reading in the House yesterday.

The member’s bill proposed a 25 percent health insurance rebate for people aged over 65, the removal of fringe benefit tax from health insurance to stop penalising employers who provide it for their staff, and a requirement that parent category migrants have health insurance on arrival and maintain it in New Zealand for 10 years.

Health Funds Association (HFANZ) chief executive Roger Styles said it was disappointing that the Bill had not gained the support of Parliament, as it would have been a big step in helping to shore up future health funding sources and to address New Zealand’s dangerous over-reliance on taxpayer funding.

However, he believed the Bill’s defeat actually signalled the start of debate on future health funding rather than the end of it.

“This is the first time in over two decades we have seen Parliament debate the issue of future health funding and measures to help broaden the dependence on taxpayer funding. The debate can only intensify as the issue is not going away.”

Mr Styles said that while the Bill contained specific initiatives, there were potentially many measures which could help with future health financing, and HFANZ would be looking to work with all parties to help identify practical solutions.

ENDS

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