Federal Election 2016: AMA president Michael Gannon criticises Bill Shorten's Medicare claims

The new head of the Australian Medical Association has dealt a blow to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's claim the Government wants to privatise Medicare.

Key points:

Dr Gannon dubs Medicare's payments system "rusty" and "antiquated"

AMA says evidence doesn't stack up to support Labor's claims Medicare would be privatised

Dr Gannon pleased with Labor's plans to unravel the freeze on rebates

Mr Shorten's assertion is based on the fact the Government is considering outsourcing what Dr Michael Gannon has dubbed Medicare's "antiquated" and "rusty" payments system.

He said privatising the payments system "in no way" amounted to privatising Medicare, as Mr Shorten has claimed.

"I've never seen, and nor do I see, a proposal to potentially privatise the payments system as … a way to privatise Medicare," Dr Gannon said.

"The evidence just doesn't stack up.

"We also understand how important Medicare is to voters and that's why it's such a potent claim from the Labor Party but the AMA will always call governments to account, they will call oppositions to account."

Dr Gannon added he was pleased with "numerous" elements of Labor's health policy.

"Most noticeably unravelling the freeze on patient rebates," he said.

At the weekend Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ruled out privatising any aspect of Medicare, in the wake of what he dubbed a "disgraceful scare campaign" by Mr Shorten.

Dr Gannon — the head of obstetrics and gynaecology at St John of God Subiaco Hospital in Perth — took over the reins of the AMA in May from Sydney neurosurgeon Brian Owler.

Dr Gannon said he would respond to policies from both sides of politics on merit.

"The AMA should look at things issue by issue, focus on the health," he said.

"I'm not interested in partisanship, I'm interested in the policy."

Source: ABC News

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