The Government’s $1.1bn plan to deliver air care for people with a chronic lung condition will be signed off on by Labor leader Bill Shorten, who has been negotiating with his former political ally Tony Abbott over the package.
The $1,000 Medicare rebate for air care will be in place until March 2019, with the remaining rebate available on a sliding scale, with a maximum of $500 for the most serious cases.
Mr Shorten’s Government has been pushing the rebate for people suffering from chronic lung conditions for years, but the Prime Minister is likely to push ahead with the package this week.
It comes after Labor’s previous health secretary, Mark Butler, resigned amid allegations of his conduct, including bullying.
Mr Abbott has been unable to form a Government with the support of the Liberal Party, so Mr Shorten has been seeking a Coalition ally to lead the Coalition.
The deal is expected to be signed during the annual general meeting of the ALP, scheduled for late September.
The ALP, which has held a minority government since July, is unlikely to go into opposition until 2019.
But if it does form government, it will have to agree to a number of reforms and some of them will likely be contentious.
Under the plan, Medicare rebate payments would be phased out by 2022, but people who had Medicare before then would not be eligible for the rebate.
In the same year, there would be a new Medicare levy on tobacco products, a levy for new car insurance, and a tobacco excise rebate for the first time.
The Labor Party has long been critical of the current Government’s health care system, but Mr Shortens is expected take a hard line on that policy, particularly in light of the Government’s decision to cut $3.4bn in public hospital funding.