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Most NZers pay more to see the doctor

Most NZers pay more to see the doctor

Monday 20 Dec 2004

Heather Roy - Press Releases - Health

Despite Health Minister Annette King's protestations to the contrary, the Health and Independence Report 2004 confirms race-based funding of Primary Health Organisations exists, ACT Health spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"The Director-General of Health's annual report on the state of public health, released today, exposes the outrageous deception of Annette King's claims about her health strategy," Mrs Roy said.

"Just last week, in response to a supplementary oral question, Annette King claimed that two years ago the Primary Health Care Strategy was rolled out into areas with high need, including low-income, Maori and Pacific people, when she said:

`That was in the first year, under access funding. Since then we have progressively rolled out money, regardless of where people live, based on age bands'.

"The Health Ministry website, however, clearly shows that PHOs where the populations were more than 50 percent Maori and Pacific Islanders receive 20 percent more funding per person than those that were not.

"Annette King's denial of race-based funding was exposed by Race Relations Minister Trevor Mallard who last week signalled that a U-turn on the population-based health funding formula - introduced by Labour - was on the cards. He said there was now some doubt as to whether weighting some of the funding in favour of Maori and Pacific Islanders was the right way to go.

"Equally, Annette King's claims of cheaper doctor visits for most New Zealanders is hogwash. Most Kiwis are enrolled in interim PHOs where people are paying $45 to $55 a visit - more on average than when Labour was elected.

"In short, if you are of Maori or Pacific Island ethnicity, you have a high chance of having benefited from Labour's race-based subsidies. If not, like most other New Zealanders, you are paying more under Labour.

"Annette King's time is up. Prime Minister Helen Clark should have sacked her today when she had the chance," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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