More older Australians will get cheaper healthcare and medicine under $70m

More self-funded pensioners could access cheaper health care and medicine as part of a multimillion-dollar campaign pledge by the Coalition to tackle cost-of-living pressures for dozens of thousands of older Australians.

If elected in the May ballot, the Coalition promises to spend $70 million over four years to give 50,000 more older Australians access to the Commonwealth Senior Health Card (CSHC).

The card is currently issued to around 436,000 Australians over the age of 67 who are not eligible for old age pension because the value of their assets is too high and gives them access to some cheaper Medicare services and prescription drugs. .

It comes with a single income test of just under $58,000 a year, but the Coalition is proposing to broaden eligibility for the card, increasing it to $90,000 from July 1. .

The couples threshold would also increase from just over $92,000 to $144,000.

The soaring cost of living has been at the center of this federal election campaign for Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor leader Anthony Albanese, with both sides saying they are best placed to help Australians tackle rising housing costs. price.

Mr Morrison used the campaign speech to again argue that the Coalition was easing mounting household pressures.

“This is the first major change, apart from indexation, to the Commonwealth Elderly Health Card income threshold in over 20 years,” he said.

“Every dollar counts, especially for older Australians who are no longer working.

“Australian seniors have worked hard to make Australia what it is today, and it’s important that the country looks after them in return.”

Labor said it would match the pledge, with campaign spokesman Jason Clare telling Channel Seven it was a good idea.

No matter who wins the election, PBS drugs will be cheaper.

By next year, all Australians will pay less for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines, regardless of who wins the May election.

The Coalition announced on Saturday that all PBS drugs would be reduced from $10 to a maximum of $32.50 if returned to the government, after accidentally announcing and then withdrawing the policy last month.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese used Labour’s campaign launch on Sunday to outbid the government by $2.50, announcing that the cost of PBS drugs would be cut by $12.50.

Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler told the ABC that prescription drugs are currently too expensive.

“Hundreds of thousands of people don’t have access to the drugs their doctors say they need simply because of the cost,” he said.

“It is a central question of equity and universality of health care.”

Mr Butler said prescription drugs were currently too expensive.(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Pharmacy Guild of Australia president Trent Twomey hailed the bipartisan support for the policy, describing it as a step in the right direction.

“Community pharmacies are seeing patients struggle to afford prescription drugs and paycheck to paycheck,” Professor Twomey said.

“As the cost of living rises, patients are increasingly forced to choose between putting food on the table or buying the medicine they and their families need.

“We don’t want to see Australians ending up in the ER, in hospital or with long-term damage to their health because they’ve been forced to delay or skip taking essential medicines because of the cost.”

Both parties promised that their pharmaceutical commitments would come into effect early next year.

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