Labor commits to early restoration of indexation

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Labor says if elected at the upcoming election it will restore indexation to Medicare rebates for 100 GP items from 1 July this year.

The Coalition government has committed to restoring indexation from July 2020.

"That means the Medicare rebates for 100 GP items – including family counselling, urgent after-hours care, mental health care and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island health checks – will start going up again," said Labor leader Bill Shorten in a statement.

Labor said it will invest $213 million in restoring indexation a year early. "We will pay for it by making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town," added Mr Shorten.

However, health minister Greg Hunt hit back, accusing Labor of "fibbing" on the Medicare 'freeze'.

"Embarrassingly for Mr Shorten we ended the Medicare freeze which Labor introduced. Labor introduced the Medicare indexation freeze in 2013; the Liberal National Government ended it in the 2017 Budget," he said.

"This indexation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule, which the Government reintroduced in the 2017-18 Budget, is delivering an additional $1.7 billion (including 90% of diagnostic imaging items) for Medicare services through to 2021-22."