INDEPENDENT NEWS

PHO Strategy is Fundamentally Flawed

Published: Tue 1 Oct 2002 06:01 PM
PHO Strategy is Fundamentally Flawed
Labour's new Primary Healthcare Organisation (PHO) Strategy will force families living in poverty to pay more for doctor visits if they live in wealthier areas, ACT Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.
"With the planned eventual removal of the Community Services Card, low income families in higher-income communities will be charged more to visit the doctor.
"The Minister has made it clear that the strategy is first and foremost to provide cheaper healthcare to Maori, Pacific Island and poorer communities. But she refuses to admit that geographical ring-fencing is an incredibly blunt and unfair way to provide cheaper healthcare for those that need it. One size does not fit all.
"Low income families who live outside these areas will have to either shift to a low income, high subsidised area, or attend their local doctor at a higher cost.
"Families who are better off but live in low income areas, or in areas dominated by Maori or Pacific Island populations, will get the windfall of cheaper or free visits.
"This Strategy is produces inequalities rather than eliminating them.
"It is clear the extra funding being provided to the new PHOs comes at a cost to hospitals - which already have deficits projected for almost $200 million this financial year .
"ACT believes in an emphasis on primary healthcare. However, income related subsidies - and not race-based or geographical-based formula - are the fairest means of helping New Zealanders access primary care.
"Labour is replacing a system that has some unfairness, with one that delivers far greater inequality.

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