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Health funding cuts a false economy

Photo: False economy to cut health funding: Labor
Labor health spokeswoman Catherine King says making cuts to the health budget is a false economy.

Federal Labor won't make any major funding cuts to health amid warnings about the state of the budget.

After the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook was released on Friday, Global credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service warned the rising government debt burden would constrain the ability to buffer "potential negative economic shocks".

Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King insists Labor has been pretty cautious when it comes to saving money in the health budget.

"We are not proposing to make major cuts," she told Sky News on Sunday.
"It's a false economy ... that savings can come from health."

Labor will abandon a coalition plan for a one-off hike in taxpayer-subsidised medicines that will cost the budget bottom line $3.6 billion over a decade.

The pledge follows its biggest spending promise of the election campaign so far - undoing a controversial freeze on Medicare rebates.

That comes at a cost of $12.2 billion over a decade.

Labor would never re-introduce the freeze it implemented in 2014, to bring the rebate in line with the financial year, and extended until 2020 by the Abbott and Turnbull governments.

"It was the right decision for the time ... we won't be doing this (again)," Ms King said.

The July 2 election was a choice between the coalition's $50 billion in corporate tax cuts or having a properly-funded health system, she said.

Labor has yet to say whether it will restore $57 billion in health spending cuts the Abbott government made in its first budget.

Ms King signalled further announcements later in the campaign which would focus on "activity-based funding" for elective surgery.


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