Removing rebate would create 'untenable burden'

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Private Healthcare Australia has dismissed a suggestion from Greens leader Richard Di Natale that government should essentially takeover funding for dental services from private health insurers by removing the private health insurance rebate.

CEO Dr Rachel David said Senator Di Natale’s suggestion made “no economic sense, and would potentially result in hundreds of thousands of people on lower incomes missing out” on dental care.

According to Dr David, who was speaking on Sky News, while Australia’s public hospital system already receives annual funding from governments of around $60 billion, the $6 billion private health insurance rebate leverages billions in consumer contributions that cover the cost of two-thirds of all non-emergency surgery as well as 40 million dental services every year.

Dr David said removing the rebate would simply result in a dramatic deterioration in the capacity of the private health system and impose an untenable burden on the public health system.

“…how on earth would the public system be able to cope with the additional demand for those services, which would triple for surgery and go through the roof for dental care? $6 billion would be a drop in the ocean in terms of what would be required,” she said.