Thursday, 5 May 2016

Medicare rebate freeze continued until 2020

Medicare freeze is crippling GP practices

This week it was announced in the budget that the freeze on Medicare rebates, commenced in 2012, will be continued until 2020.  This means the rebate your GP receives when they choose to bulk-bill you has not increased in four years and will not increase for four more. 

In that time, just like everywhere, their costs have increased. They still have to pay their nurses, their receptionists, their phone bills and the rent for their consulting rooms, and more.

Medicare is YOUR universal health insurance. It is YOUR rebate. Do not let the government destroy it. 

Stop the freeze on Medicare rebates: sign the petition

By freezing the Medicare rebate the government is directly attacking those services that care for the disadvantaged who rely solely on the Medicare rebate – such as aboriginal health services, and those that care for people on low incomes.

Sign the petition HERE

Below are some of the top comments by doctors explaining why the extended freeze on Medicare rebates is "a huge slap in the face to general practitioners Australia wide" and why "decreasing funding to general practice is false economy".

Source: AMA

Comments by supporters of the petition for Federal Minister for Health, Hon. Sussan Ley

Top comments

I am a rural GP who deals with mostly pensioners. I could easily be making a lot more money in a wealthy suburban skin clinic but I have decided to help those that really need it. I feel dishonored and disrespected by our government. We work extremely hard and are experts in our field. This is a huge slap in the face to general practitioners Australia wide. Perhaps I should have done cosmetic surgery instead of working tirelessly to keep people out of expensive hospital beds. I challenge you to rethink this myopic and ultimately self defeating dogma. If you want good people, you need to pay the correct amount. All we are asking is for our pay to go up with the consumer price index. That's not too much to ask, is it?
Francisco Rodriguez-Letters, Cloncurry, Australia

Decreasing funding to General Practice is false economy, there is solid evidence that good primary care reduces health spending overall. Freezing Medicare is going to cost Australia in the long run because General Practice will suffer, and the health of Australians will suffer as medical practices are forced to charge larger gap payments and reduce bulk billing to cope with the rising costs and decreasing support from the government.
Hayley Walker, Adelaide, Australia

I'm an emergency doctor and people are using emergency services like GP clinics because it's free. It wastes time and resources and puts real emergencies at risk. If you do ANYTHING to continue to deincentivise people to go to the GP, you are practicing horrible health policy. They prevent hospital presentations and admissions, and therefore save a shit tonne of money.
Marcus Yip, Richmond, Australia

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