Health Minister Tanya Plibersek
Independent MP Rob Oakeshott has confirmed he will support a Federal Government bill to means test the private health insurance rebate.
The Government needed Mr Oakeshott’s vote to get the legislation through the House of Representatives and a vote is expected later tonight.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek had earlier secured the Greens’ support with a $165 million package to provide dental services to low-income earners.
Mr Oakeshott told Parliament he had supported similar bills in the past.
“I rise today to be consistent and continue to support the means testing of private health insurance rebates in Australia and encourage all MPs to do the same,” he said.
“I also rise to encourage the Government to make this the first of a series of austerity measures that start to turn unsustainable health economics into the sustainable.”
The money for dental care will be funded by an increase in the Medicare Levy surcharge for people on higher wages who do not hold private hospital cover.
But the main plank of the legislation will means test the private health insurance rebate, with reductions beginning for a single person earning more than $80,000 and families on $160,000.
The rebate will cut out completely for singles who earn more than $124,000 and families on more than $248,000.
Labor has been trying to means test the health insurance rebate for nearly three years.
It represents a $2.4 billion boon to the budget.