Tony Abbott’s health cuts have helped drive a record rise in hospital patients paying gap fees, with over 1.2 million services requiring patients to dip into their own pockets in the year to June.
Figures release by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority show a 2.1 percentage point rise in the number of patients paying a gap for hospital treatment in the June quarter – the single biggest quarterly drop on record.
The 3.4 percentage point drop in the year to June was another record, with the number of patients treated without being forced to pay out of pocket expenses now at a five year low.
These figures are further evidence of the increasing bills patients are being forced to pay as a direct result of the Abbott Government’s health cuts.
The Medicare rebate freeze is increasingly forcing GPs and specialists to abandon bulk billing and raise fees, and now over 1.2 million patients are being forced to pay a gap for their hospital treatment.
It comes as increasing number of medical practices are forced to abandon bulk billing to raise fees as result of Tony Abbott’s four year freeze on Medicare rebates for general practice.
My office has received a number of emails about practices informing patients they can no longer afford to bulk bill, hitting patients, many of them concession card holders or people with chronic conditions, with fees of up to $20 or $30.
At the same time, public hospitals are reporting near record numbers of patients, as people increasingly seek to dodge the Abbott Government’s new GP Tax by swamping Emergency Departments.
These figures confirm the Abbott Government is determined to end universal access to health care and make patients pick up the tab.
The Abbott Government remains committed to the GP Tax and Medicare will never be safe while Tony Abbott remains in power.