McAuley fact-checks the health minister’s ‘doubled-in-a-decade’ spending comments | 11 March 2015

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Ian McAuley, contributing author with the Centre for Policy Development, recently fact-checked Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley’s suggestion that Medicare spending has more than doubled in the last decade. The piece, which appeared in The Conversation and was written alongside Stephen Duckett, concluded that the health minister’s numbers are ‘broadly correct’, but the issue has been framed in a misleading manner.

The health minister’s suggestion that ‘the proportion of Medicare covered by the levy has fallen backwards from 67% to 54% in the last decade’ is ‘broadly correct'; so too are Ley’s figures for Medicare spending.

Yet, McAuley notes, the numbers ‘are framed in a way that overstates the impression of rising health care expenditure‘.

Further, ‘linking the Medicare levy to the cost of Medicare is questionable in policy terms. The Medicare levy was never meant to cover the entire cost of Medicare… The levy was a once-off political expedient 30 years ago. It is past its use-by date and ideally should be built into tax tables.’

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