Greens Will Make Ambulances Free

Australian Greens

The ACT Greens say public healthcare should be free, and in a cost of living crisis there’s no reason to charge Canberrans for emergency services.

“On the worst day of your life you shouldn’t be worrying about the cost. When you’re in an emergency and calling for an ambulance, you’re calling for an essential service,” said Andrew Braddock, Greens spokesperson for emergency services and recontesting Member for Yerrabi.

“A thousand dollar ambulance bill is a significant financial shock for most people, and chasing up the payments can cost the public service more money than it’s worth.

“There’s a lot the ACT Government can do to help local people struggling in this cost of living crisis. Amongst the most important is assuring people they can access genuinely free emergency healthcare, when they need potentially life-saving assistance.

“This is a simple change we can make to support Canberrans with the cost of living, and let our ambulance service focus on helping people, not collecting debt.”

ACT Greens spokesperson for Health Emma Davidson said paramedics provide timely health care to people in crisis between home and the hospital.

“A high quality universal health care system means free services – from in the community all the way to an acute hospital setting,” said Ms Davidson, who is recontesting in Murrumbidgee.

“Anyone in a health crisis should have access to a free ambulance. Paramedics play an important role delivering urgent care in the community and also triaging people for hospital.

“When Canberrans call for help as soon as they need it, pressure on our emergency departments will be reduced and people will have the best possible health outcomes.

“The ACT Greens want everyone to be able to access free health support when and where they need it. Today’s announcement follows our commitment for four bulk-billed GP clinics, so people can get free care throughout their health journey.”

Candidate for Brindabella Sam Nugent, who has used an ambulance multiple times the last two months, says people shouldn’t need private health insurance to avoid bill shock in a medical emergency.

“If I’d chosen to cancel my private health insurance I would have been left $3210 out of pocket. As a part time worker with a chronic health condition, I am unsure as to how after this expense I would be able to afford my medication.

“In a cost of living crisis, when people need emergency care they should not be faced with a choice of needing to cut expenses to pay for emergency services. Do you have to second guess in an emergency how you can afford a life saving service?

“This initiative will make a significant impact for those who are left facing an unexpected cost of $1070 for a single ambulance trip in the current cost of living crisis,” Ms Nugent said.

/Public Release. View in full here.