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Government denies health surrender

Treasurer Wayne Swan has rejected an opposition suggestion the Government surrendered to the states to finalise its hospital reforms plan.

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Acting opposition leader Julie Bishop said Prime Minister Julia Gillard had capitulated the states and handed them a blank cheque.

The commonwealth has committed to giving the states and territories an extra $16.4 billion over six years from 2014/15 in a bid to end a 15-month stand off with Western Australia, which was not satisfied with an earlier deal.

Mr Swan rejected the suggestion by Julie Bishop that the government had backed down by throwing around more money.

He added the deal was affordable for the Government and refuted claims it had “backed down”.

“It recognises the fact that we have to have in place long-term agreements but also recognises the fact that you’ve got to get value for money.

“This is a ground-breaking agreement for Australia.”

Queensland and New South Wales have both praised the agreement, while Victoria says its patients won’t notice any major differences.

After protracted wrangling with the states, particularly Western Australia and Victoria, Prime Minister Julia Gillard unveiled a national health reform deal on Tuesday, saying it will deliver $175 billion by 2030.

Premier of Victoria Ted Baillieu said he had not heard the $175 billion figure before and it was an estimation.

He said Victoria would reap up to an extra $4.1 billion from 2014-15 to 2019-20, but the cash would merely help hospitals cope with rising demand, rather than expand.

“I am positive about the outcomes, but I’m realistic as well,” Mr Baillieu said.

“But I am realistic to the point that this will, for Victorians, not make a great deal of material change.”

Doctors say they are not sure the new funding deal will end the blame game between deferent levels of government and also that any more beds will be provided.

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