Who really represents consumers in this debate?


Who actually represents the interests of privately insured Australians?

So many so-called consumer groups criticise premium increases while also campaigning against the private health insurance rebate and low-cost policies.

It is really difficult to understand how any group claiming to represent consumers of health insurance can reconcile railing against a 3.95 per cent increase while arguing for changes that would deliver the single biggest one-off premium increase ever.

Many groups welcomed Labor's proposed two per cent cap on premium increases for two years. Some even welcomed the proposal, complained about affordability, then virtually in the next sentence bemoaned the existence of the rebate that keeps premiums affordable for millions of Australians.

If you argue against premium increases, if you are genuinely concerned about affordability, then surely you must argue for retention of the rebate?

If as an organisation you oppose the rebate, campaign against it, argue for its abolition as well as the end of low cost policies, how with a straight face can you complain about affordability?

Of course, the truth of the matter is that many of the organisations making these arguments are profoundly antagonistic towards health insurance and the private health sector - not really its cost, the policies and benefits, but its very existence.

They explicitly want it to be more expensive, through removal of the rebate and abolition of low cost policies, and even advise younger people not to take out health insurance, making it more expensive for everyone else, then complain about the lowest premium increase in 17 years.

So how can organisations so overtly contemptuous of private health truly claim to represent the millions of Australians with private health insurance?

Clearly they cannot.