Health Insurance

February 12, 2012 by staff 

Health Insurance, The federal government hopes its latest attempt to impose a means test on the private health insurance rebate will pass federal parliament’s lower house this week.

The government believes it has secured the three crossbench votes necessary to get its Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives bills through the House of Representatives.

If Greens MP Adam Bandt and independents Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie support the legislation as expected, it could pass the house as early as Tuesday.

But Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has appealed to the crossbenchers to side with the coalition against the reforms, saying they represent another broken Labor promise.

“I think it’s the job of the independents to keep the government honest, not to allow the government to be dishonest,” Mr Abbott told Network Ten on Sunday.

Mr Abbott even went so far as to call on former Liberal turned independent speaker Peter Slipper to “keep faith” with his electorate and vote with the coalition.

“Will he take the chair or will he support his electorate?”

Under the reforms, the government will means test the rebate for individuals earning more than $80,000 a year and families earning more than $160,000.

Labor has been battling to get the changes – which also increase the Medicare levy surcharge for those without cover – through parliament since it won office four years ago.

The Senate has twice rejected the proposals, which the government says will save the commonwealth coffers $2.4 billion in the first three years and $100 billion by 2050.

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