Labor leader slammed for healthcare equality claim


Anthony Albanese has been slammed on social media for claiming the rich and poor get the same standard of medical care in Australia after his horror car accident.

The Labor leader has been on a social media blitz ever since his car crash last Friday, posting three Instagram posts on the crash, five Twitter posts and four separate Facebook posts featuring images of his “write off” car and gratitude for nurses, cleaners and first responders.

A P-plater in a Range Rover who smashed into the driver’s side of his vehicle has been issued with a notice for negligent driving over the car accident.

But the leader’s suggestion that you get the same care in Australia whether you’re rich or poor has divided voters, with many arguing it was a “ridiculous” claim.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re the richest man in Australia or a single mum on a pension. In Australia, you get the same standard of medical care,’’ Mr Albanese wrote.

“When Kerry Packer had a heart attack, he went to Royal Prince Alfred. When my mum went to hospital, she went there too.”

Many social media users completely disagreed, lining up to provide their own horror stories of facing huge sums for dental surgery and being forced into long waiting times for surgery.

“Who is this tweet for? I assume the target audience is ‘people who have never been to an Australian hospital’ because those of us who have are not buying this absurd bullshi*t,’’ Tim Whitehead wrote on Twitter.

“That’s crap Anthony, our once decent equitable system has been ravaged by private health policy incentives – I was referred to a specialist by my GP who refused to see me as I don’t have private insurance – fact! #MedicareFail,’’ another Twitter user wrote.

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“This stroke survivor was sent home alone, within days of being able to stand up with a brace on my leg, despite physio resisting hospital pressure to ship me out early – no home help whatsoever – while a private patient roommate kept in for months,’’ Andrew Hayes wrote.

“My mum’s partner had a suspected stroke – 3 yr wait to see a specialist. I waited 2.5 years to see a specialist for a knee injury, 3yrs for back. Currently been waiting over a year to see a prostate specialist. Tell me again how equal the system is,’’ Bradly Saint wrote.

Joanna Mendelssohn said once you moved out of emergency, the situation was different.

“It’s true that in an emergency all Australians are treated the same under Medicare. However, once matters settle, or with chronic disease (including cancer) inequalities emerge,’’ she said.

“Try being a pensioner who needs cataract surgery or hip replacement vs someone prepared to pay top $.”

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Many people with chronic health conditions said they faced huge out of pocket costs for care and were forced to ration migraine medication.

“I’m on disability & can’t afford the physio and hydrotherapy I need. I have a hip that is dislocating & has joint and tendon damage but I can’t afford the MRI or specialist visit. It’s stopping me sleeping,’’ Kath Ballantyne wrote.

“I can’t afford the dentist. I can’t afford the migraine meds that are now on the market. I get migraines 4 or 5 days a week. I already spend hundreds a month on medication on top of the PBS. For people with disabilities and chronic health problems the system is not equal at all.”

Another user wrote: “I bet all my savings (none) that Gina Rinehart doesn’t have to wait 10 goddamn hours in Emergency waiting rooms surrounded by people screaming out in pain.”

Several users wrote about the out of pocket costs of treating common conditions including endometriosis, which costs thousands of dollars for specialist care.

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“This is very much not the case – for example, I saw someone today post about a yearly ultrasound for endometriosis that will cost them $335 – the Medicare rebate is $86,’’ Isha Leigh wrote.

“There are only a few radiologists in Melbourne that specialise in that sort of scan, all private.”

Heath George told Mr Albanese: “Tell that to my Mum that spent 18 months on a public waiting list in agony waiting for a shoulder reconstruction.”

Rick Overton wrote: “My dental implants are going to cost 18k … I earn about 40k.”

“A person with bone issues in a toe can access Medicare for treatment,’’ Mackie O’Halloran said.

“A person with jaw problems eg TMJ. Cannot access Medicare. Cost of preventing collapsed jaw is expensive, painful & makes access to dental care hard. Can’t open mouth wide – no treatment.”

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