Shepherd Calls For Gaps Insurance To Be Deregulated – 8 October 1999

Dr Bruce Shepherd today called for a total deregulation of gap insurance for private health cover, following revelations in the Australian newspaper that so called talks between the Government and the AMA on gap insurance were non existent.

“It would be perfectly feasible for the Government to allow any financial institution to offer a policy or a product which would cover anyone prepared to pay the premium for a set amount of cover for medical and hospital gaps,” Dr Shepherd said in Sydney today.

“This should have nothing to do with doctors – how they proctice or what they charge.”

Dr Shepherd said that recent reports in the Australian newspapers were “absolutely extraordinary”.

“I’m flabbergasted,” said Dr Shepherd. “We have been told for months that the AMA’s ‘no contract’ gap proposal had the full support of the Health Minister and legislation was just around the corner.

“Now the Minister tells us he has yet to see a proposal from the AMA.”

“Either somebody is not telling the truth or Dr Brand and Dr Wooldridge do not speak the same language,” said Dr Shepherd

Even more worrying were comments reported in the Australian that the AMA sponsored legislation was not needed because ‘the funds were pushing ahead with their own arrangements’, said Dr Shepherd.

“Dr Wooldridge has no further use for Dr Brand and has left him at the altar like a jilted bride.”

“Judging by his actions he would seem to have never had serious intentions in the first place.”

Dr Shepherd said that the medical profession has been well and truly duped.

“we have heard a great deal from the leadership of the Australian Medical Association about the need for a new approach, about the need to talk to the Government.

“Well the profession has delivered an awful lot of concessions to the Government recently and what do they get in return?”

“A Minister who denies having spoken to them and then says the funds are doing very well on their own thank you very much.”