Health a decider in election

Research commissioned by National Seniors shows that one in five voters aged over 50 could change their vote over the issue of health.

The survey shows that 20 per cent of both Labor and Coalition voters were prepared to switch their vote to another party because of health policy. This equates to over 600,000 votes.

In a separate online poll, 46 per cent of seniors supported the government’s healthcare reforms, with 29 per cent opposing them.

Commenting on the results of the survey chief executive, Michael O’Neill said, given the closeness of the opinion polls these results show that health reform and the votes of seniors will be vital in deciding the result of the next election.

“We have given a cautious welcome to the government’s hospital reforms but need more details of changes to other related parts of the health system including aged care, the Pharmaceutical Benefits scheme and the Medicare Benefits schedule,” he said.

O’Neill and chairman Everald Compton met with the Prime Minister earlier this week to ensure the concerns of seniors about health reforms were being listened to.

“The fact that less than half of seniors currently support the reforms shows that the government will have to convince them that the plans will deliver real improvements and result in better patient outcomes such as shorter waiting times,” O’Neill said.

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