Labor will continue to lobby key cross benchers on private health insurance reforms.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon has admitted the federal government won't be able to get its changes to the private health insurance rebate through the federal parliament this year as planned.
Instead, Roxon says Labor will continue lobbying key crossbench MPs in the hope of gaining their support some time in 2012.
The federal government will be faced with a $2.8 billion hole in the budget if it can't means-test the 30 per cent rebate and increase the Medicare levy surcharge for those without cover.
In the long term, there will be an estimated shortfall of $100 billion by 2050.
"We remain in close discussions with the cross benches, but I think realistically that will not be reached this year," Roxon told reporters in Canberra yesterday.
"(But) we are keen to pursue this measure."
A package of three bills to implement the private health insurance overhaul was introduced to parliament's lower house in early July.
But Labor hasn't brought on a vote because it knows it doesn't yet have the numbers.
The coalition remains opposed to the change, which has twice been defeated in the Senate, which means the government needs to win over the cross benches.
However, even if the draft laws do eventually pass the lower house, they will hit another stumbling block in the Senate.
The Australian Greens, which hold the balance of power in the upper house, support cutting the rebate but have vowed to vote against any increase in the levy surcharge.
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