Health rebate lift tops Seniors’ 2020 vision
INCREASED medical rebates, an independent tribunal to set the age pension, an end to the waiting list for home care packages and bringing politicians' super in line with the rest of the community top the list of what National Seniors Australia wants in the new year.
The country's peak membership organisation for older Australians has given its wish list to the Federal Government via its submission for next year's Federal Budget.
Among the other items listed in the submission are:
- Increased rental assistance for pensioners.
- Lower deeming and taper rates on the age pension.
- An adult dental benefit scheme.
- A scheme for older Australians to invest in green energy infrastructure.
National Seniors Australia chief advocate Ian Henschke said the rising cost of health care, especially the fee for seeing a specialist, was members' primary concern.
"On average a patient will be $84 out of pocket when they see a specialist, compared to around $38 for a visit to the GP," Mr Henschke said.
Despite the recent announcement for extra aged care funding, National Seniors continues to call for an end to the home care package waiting list, a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
Mr Henschke said the $496 million announced for extra home care packages was barely a fifth of the $2.5 billion identified in the Royal Commission to fix the problem.
"Last year 16,000 people died waiting for a home care package and more than 13,000 were placed into an aged care facility when they wanted to remain in their homes," he said.
"We know what the figure is to fix it and yet the government is still well short of the mark."
Mr Henschke also said it was time the Government took politics out of the age pension, calling for an independent tribunal to set the amount paid.