Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale says a review of private health insurance is sorely needed, but the best deal for Australians is a strong public health system.
"Health reform needs to start with properly resourcing our universal healthcare system rather than doing the bidding of the private health insurance industry," Dr Di Natale said.
"Australia risks moving toward a two-tiered, American-style system, where those who can't afford private insurance get second rate healthcare.
"What I'd like to see is such a strong public health system that private health insurance is a choice, rather than a necessity for many Australians.
"Extending private health insurance to GP visits would undermine Medicare and create a US-style two-tiered system where timely access to a GP depends on the whether you have private health insurance.
"Charging higher premiums for high risk individuals will put health insurance out of reach for many, and simply means those who most need care won't be able to afford it.
"When health insurance reforms like tax penalties and the now $7 billion private health insurance subsidy were first introduced, we were promised they would take pressure of public hospitals and make the system more sustainable. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"We now have a private health insurance sector that provides poor value for consumers and is costing taxpayers billions of dollars.
"The time has come for a major overhaul of the system, but this review won't deliver it," said Senator Di Natale.