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Means testing still up for negotiation

5 December 2011 - 4:52pm

Two crossbenchers have indicated that they are prepared to enter negotiations regarding the proposed means-testing of the private health insurance rebate.

Despite being blocked twice by the Senate in the last parliament, NSW Independent Rob Oakeshott told ABC radio on December 1 that he was "very much up for a conversation" on the issue

"I'm willing to have parliament return on Christmas Day if need be to resolve the issue if it is that important to the government," he said.

In addition, West Australian National Tony Crook has also encouraged health minister Nicola Roxon to discuss the proposed legislation with him.

"I'm not categorically opposed (to the means test), not at this stage," Mr Crook told The Australian on December 2.

A spokesman for Ms Roxon told Fairfax Media that many MPs had been focused on introducing other key government initiatives, including the mining tax and the carbon price.

"The government will continue to discuss the merits of our proposed changes to private health insurance rebates and how these sensible changes will deliver $100 billion of savings over the next forty years, in particular in the lead up to the resumption of parliament in early 2012," he said.