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Health insurance bill defeated

Health insurers have expressed their regret  the New Zealand First-sponsored Affordable Healthcare Bill failed to get past its first reading in the House.

Thursday, December 3rd 2015, 11:51AM 1 Comment

The member’s bill proposed a 25% health insurance rebate for people aged over 65, the removal of fringe benefit tax from health insurance to stop penalising employers who provide it for their staff, and a requirement that parent category migrants have health insurance on arrival and maintain it in New Zealand for 10 years.

Health Funds Association (HFANZ) chief executive Roger Styles said it was disappointing that the Bill had not gained the support of Parliament, as it would have been a big step in helping to shore up future health funding sources and to address New Zealand’s reliance on taxpayer funding. 

But he said the Bill’s defeat could signal the start of debate on future health funding rather than the end of it.

“This is the first time in over two decades we have seen Parliament debate the issue of future health funding and measures to help broaden the dependence on taxpayer funding.  The debate can only intensify as the issue is not going away.”

Styles said that while the Bill contained specific initiatives, there were potentially many measures that could help with future health financing, and HFANZ would be looking to work with all parties to help identify practical solutions.


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Comments from our readers

On 7 December 2015 at 11:52 am Majella said:
Not even past the 1st reading? This shows how ill-informed our representatives are about the growing crisis in socialised medicine.

Those who can afford private cover tend to take it when confronted with the cold, hard facts of our present rationing system. Everyone who has private cover is relieving the stress on the state system. Anything to expand the cohort of privately insured citizens should be embraced. the 25% rebate is possibly a bit much, but even partial tax-relief would be better than nothing.

Employers who want to provide subsidised (or even free) cover to employees, often think again when they see they're being hit with the FBT (which increases their cost by 50%).

It also seems quite fair to expect new immigrants to be self-sufficient for a period before relying on the public system - they will continue, I presume, to have access to the primary care subsidy...

Is this just a short-sighted reaction to a bill from a Party that the two 'Big Boys' don't like anyway?

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