Media Release by Hon Kevin Andrews MP

Labor to deny thousands cheaper medicine

Thousands of self-funded retirees will miss out on cheaper prescription drugs and other health benefits if Labor blocks moves to index income limits for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CHSC).

Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews said Labor has today declared it will oppose the Bill which ensures income limits for the CSHC are indexed annually, based on the Consumer Price Index, from 20 September this year.

“This Bill fulfills a key election promise and demonstrates the Government’s ongoing commitment to reducing the cost of living for Australian seniors,” Mr Andrews said.

“Seniors have been calling for this change for more than a decade – the Coalition has listened and will deliver, in spite of Labor’s opposition.

“In opposing this Bill, the ALP is telling some seniors that they don’t deserve the same concessions as other retirees.”

Mr Andrews said Labor is effectively denying 27,000 senior’s access to cheaper medical services over the next four years.

“The Government recognises that self-funded retirees save the Commonwealth considerable pension costs by looking after their own retirement needs.

“The income limits for the CHSC have been fixed at $50,000 for singles and $80,000 for couples since 2001.

“By indexing the income thresholds, the Coalition is ensuring that eligibility for the card increases in line with living costs.

“The Coalition is committed to our seniors and this legislation, even if Labor isn’t.” Mr Andrews said.