Health minister Tanya Plibersek has rubbished claims by the Courier Mail (25 June) that over 300,000 Queenslanders will drop their private health insurance leading to a "clog-up" of public hospitals.
In an article published by the Courier Mail, it was claimed that the public hospital system would be "bracing for more strain" with thousands predicted to drop their private health cover due to the new means testing system set to take effect from July 1.
Ms Plibersek said the figures state health minister Lawrence Springborg commented on were exaggerated and that Deloitte data included in the report did not include important and relevant historical data.
She added that treasury figures anticipating that 99.7 per cent of people were likely to keep their current level of health cover, even with the means-test changes to the private health insurance rebate, were not taken into account by the Courier Mail.
"To suggest of thousands people who might not even be affected by the changes will drop out is ridiculous.
In fact, the latest data from the Private Health Insurance Administration Council shows that during the first three months of this year, when Parliament was debating the new law, another 50,000 people actually joined health funds," she said.
Nearly eight million people are likely to have their health insurance policies unaffected once the law rolls around in July, with singles earning over $130,000 and families earning over $260,000 likely to lose the rebate.