Clash brews on tax hospital cost

GLADSTONE Hospital has become another ingredient in the region's carbon tax argument.

Federal Opposition health spokesman Andrew Laming last week issued a statement claiming the carbon tax would add $170,000 to Gladstone Hospital's costs.

"Not only will the carbon tax threaten jobs and increase the cost of living for Gladstone families, but it appears that local health services will also be compromised at a time when they already face immense pressures," Dr Laming said.

Dr Laming was visiting the region with Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.

His numbers were based on Queensland Treasury's estimate that the new tax would increase costs by up to $2425 per hospital bed.

Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek rejected Dr Laming's analysis.

"Dr Laming's claims are deceitful," said a spokesman for the minister.

"He has pulled stunt after stunt trying to scare patients across Australia.

"The Commonwealth Treasury and Department of Health and Aging estimate that the impact of the carbon price will only be 0.3% on hospital costs.

"This is equivalent to only one cent for every three dollars spent on hospitals.

"By contrast, Labor is increasing federal hospital funding by 6.5 per cent in 2012-13, increasing each year to more than 10 per cent in 2015-16."



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