Medicare Benefits Schedule Cuts – Negative Impact on Indigenous Kids?

Dignity for Disability MP Kelly Vincent has today expressed concern about the Federal Health Minister’s likely cuts to the Medicare Benefits Schedule that may negatively impact young Indigenous South Australians with disability.

“The roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme for children and young people in South Australia has already had its fair share of challenges in the past two and a half years; the last thing we need is cuts to the health system that result in further difficulties to our most disadvantaged children in remote communities,” says Kelly Vincent.

“Hearing problems are the most diagnosed disability in Indigenous kids in the APY Lands*, in the north of South Australia.

“Mooted cuts to ear, nose and throat items on the Medicare Benefits Schedule could devastate the ability of these communities to access adequate services to improve hearing through simple medical procedures.

“There are multiple challenges faced providing adequate health, education and disability services for young people in these remote communities and we must do everything to ensure that these kids get the same opportunities as their non-Indigenous peers.

“Students that can’t hear well and without adequate supports, are far more likely to have delayed speech and language skills, and experience learning and behavioural challenges.

“As reforms to the Medicare item schedule are considered, the impact on these young people must be considered.

“Dignity for Disability call on the Health Minister, Hon Sussan Ley MP, to contemplate the impact these cuts could have in the APY Lands,” said Ms Vincent.

*See this report (Table 1, page 14) for the figures: http://www.ndis.gov.au/ngaanyatjarra-pitjantjatjara-yankunytja