THE HON CATHERINE KING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
TURNBULL’S MEDICARE FREEZE TO LIVE ON FOR ANOTHER TWO YEARS
Malcolm Turnbull’s Medicare freeze has cut more than $3 billion out of Australian health care – and it will live on for another two years.
While Greg Hunt will no doubt be out spruiking hismeagre 55 cent rise in the rebate for standard consultations today, this is not the end of the freeze.
The freeze on specialist procedures and allied health services will endure for another 12 months.
And the freeze on a whole host of other Medicare items will remain in place for another two years.
Out-of-pocket costs are already at record highs because of Malcolm Turnbull’s freeze – and it will continue to drive prices higher until 2020.
Ten years ago, Australians paid an average out-of-pocket fee of $21 to see a GP. If that cost had increased in line with inflation, it would be around $26 today.
Instead, it’s up to $38. This is almost a $4 increase since Malcolm Turnbull’s pre-election promise that no one would pay more to see a GP.
Out-of-pocket fees to see specialists have soared even higher, up to almost $88 – an increase of more than $12 since the 2016 election.
Had the rebate not been frozen it would have been worth $42 this year.Instead it’s languishing at just $37. That means the four-year freeze has cost bulk billing doctors around $100,000. It’s no wonder then that just 12 per cent of GPs are satisfied with the Government’s glacial thaw.
Australians are too smart to fall for this arrogant and out-of-touch Prime Minister’s spin. They know the paltry 55 cent increase in the rebate won’t put a dent in those soaring out-of-pocket costs.
Australians know that the cost of going to the doctor has risen. That’s why so many of them delay seeking the care they need.
One million Australians delay or avoid seeing their GP each year due to cost, with another 1.7 million Australians skipping specialist appointments. About the same number fail to fill prescriptions because of cost.
Whether it’s making Medicare more expensive, cutting public hospitals or putting health insurance profits before patients – Turnbull can never be trusted on health.
Labor created Medicare, and only Labor will ensure that Australians can access the health care they deserve.
SUNDAY, 1 JULY 2018