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Stop maternity care subsidies, says Libz

26 October 2005

Stop maternity care subsidies, says Libz

The Libertarianz Party's new health deregulation spokesman, Masterton GP Richard McGrath, reacted today to comments made by National spokesman Paul Hutchison about the near-extinction of GP obstetricians.

"Government interference in health matters has effectively killed off the general practitioner as a viable provider of maternity care," said Dr McGrath.

"Dr Hutchison has highlighted a 98.5% reduction in the number of GP obstetricians in New Zealand over the last ten years, and I commend him for doing so. But he doesn't elaborate on the cause of this decline in doctor numbers."

"At the root of this change is tight government control over obstetric care, and the inability of doctors and midwives to charge the patient for their services while receiving a woefully inadequate fee from the government."

"Billions of dollars - stolen from working people by the IRD - have been poured into a massive bureaucracy that micro-manages the lives of health professionals, undervalues their services and stops them trading freely.

"Libertarianz believes both the Health Ministry and the vast network of funding agencies should be disestablished and that doctors, midwives, specialists and other maternity care providers should be permitted to exercise their natural right in competing freely without interference from politicians," said Dr McGrath.

"These providers could then charge a realistic fee for their services, with a resultant rise in income. This would encourage more people into training as obstetric care providers, with eventually an increased choice of caregiver for pregnant women, and lower fees in a competitive market. A win-win scenario for patients and caregivers."

Dr McGrath asked that no further subsidies be paid to maternity providers, and that they be allowed to charge a fee - unregulated by the state - as an urgent first step toward the total privatization of health care. "Before we strike a free trade deal with China - which, incidentally, the Libertarianz Party supports - how about doing the same for GP obstetricians?"

ENDS


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