Malcolm Turnbull’s $2.1 billion attack on health care will be devastating to patients, and could be even more damaging for some than Tony Abbott’s GP tax.
The decision to rip $650 billion out of Medicare by slashing bulk billing for diagnostic imaging and pathology will force cancer patients, and others with critical health conditions to either pay more or skip vital scans and tests.
The Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association has today declared the shock Budget attack on patients to be worse than Tony Abbott’s failed $7 GP tax.
“We are talking about services that are absolutely essential to diagnosing and treating many conditions, and we’re making it harder for people to get. More people – especially those with chronic, serious conditions – will not be properly assessed. If Medicare exists to help people, this doesn’t make sense.”
Dr Christian Wriedt, President ADIA, 16th December 2015
As the ADIA points out, for a person with a suspected brain tumour, Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts will see them not only see them lose access to bulk billing and cut their Medicare rebate by $62, they will be forced to pay an up front cost of at least $403 before being able to claim that rebate.
Pathologists have also denounced the cuts as not only bad for patients, but as a short sighted measure that will cost the health system more in the longer term
“This is a very poor outcome for patients, and will cost the Government more in the longer term as the diagnosis of disease is deferred as is the opportunity for prevention of disease, meaning patients will become sicker without the positive interventions provided by the correct pathology diagnosis."
Liesel Wett, CEO, Pathology Australia, 15th December 2015
Doctors have also denounced the health cuts as yet another example of the Liberals putting patients last.
“Cutting Medicare patient rebates for important pathology and imaging services is another example of putting the budget bottom line ahead of good health policy.”
AMA President Dr Brian Owler, 16 December 2015
Despite promising new leadership, Malcolm Turnbull has –
- Ripped another $650 million out of Medicare by slashing bulk billing for diagnostic imaging and pathology.
- Gutted crucial health workforce training programmes by $595 million
- Ripped another $146 million out of health prevention and eHealth programmes
- Continued Tony Abbott’s $1.3 billion hike in the price of essential medicines
- Continued Tony Abbott’s $267 million attack on the Medicare Safety Nets.
- Continued Tony Abbott’s $2 billion four year freeze on Medicare rebates for GP visits.
Malcolm Turnbull has proven that no matter who the leader is, the Liberals only ever see health as a source of Budget cuts, and will always look to make health less affordable for those who need it most – the sick and the poor.
As the health experts have today made clear, contrary to the claims made by the Finance Minister, the scrapping of the bulk billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging will hurt patients.
MYEFO confirms, yet again, only Labor can be trusted to defend Medicare and Medicare will never be safe under the Liberals, regardless of who the leader is.