Malcolm’s Turnbull’s six year freeze on Medicare rebates will cost patients twice as much as Tony Abbott’s original GP Tax, new research has confirmed.
Malcolm Turnbull’s first Budget ripped another $925 million out of Medicare by extending the freeze out to 2020.
The GP Tax by stealth will now run for at least six years, ripping over $2 billion out of the system.
Research by Christopher Harrison, an academic at the Family Medicine Research Centre at the University of Sydney show Malcolm Turnbull’s GP Tax by stealth will cost patients more twice as much as Tony Abbott’s original, discredited $7 GP Tax.
Mr Harrison told Australian Doctor the freeze would cost the average GP $50,000.
“To make up this loss, GPs would need to charge their non-concessional patients a $14.40 co-payment in 2019/20 to maintain a 2014/15 equivalent income,” Mr Harrison told Australian Doctor.”
Tuesday night’s announcement is already having an impact on patients with one practice, the Whittlesea Family Medical Centre in Melbourne, declaring it would be forced to abandon bulk billing and begin charging all patients a $10-$20 fee as early as 1 July because of the budget night announcement.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has warned the extension of the GP Tax out to 2020 will mean “quality of patient care will be compromised” while the AMA has warned the cuts will be yet another hit to household budgets and a barrier to people accessing health care when they need it.
“The poorest, the sickest and the most vulnerable will be the hardest hit.”
AMA President Brian Owler, 3 May 2016
"The continuation of the Medicare freeze is going to send more rural and remote patients to the healthcare equivalent of deepest, darkest Siberia"
RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, 3 May 2016
It confirms, as Health Minister Sussan Ley has made clear, the Government is committed to forcing down bulk billing by making more patients pay to see a doctor.
“there are a lot of people who attend a doctor, who pay nothing who can afford to pay a bit more and that’s where we have to land in this discussion with the medical profession.”
Sussan Ley, 3AW, 3 March 2015
Coming on top of the $2.1 billion in health cuts in December’s Mid-Year Review, Malcolm Turnbull has now ripped $4.2 billion from health in just eight months in office.
Mr Turnbull promised fairness, but this Budget delivers tax cuts for the banks and multinationals at the expense of Australian families and Australia’s health system.
In another disastrous night for health, Mr Turnbull’s first Budget also:
- Cut another $182.2 million from the health flexible funds, taking the total cuts to these crucial health programs tackling drug and alcohol abuse, chronic disease, communicable diseases and rural health issues to almost $1 billion
- Abolished the Child Dental Benefits Scheme, ripping a net $1 billion out of Commonwealth Dental spending
- Ripped millions more out of health through cuts to Medicare items.
These are on top of the Mid-Year Budget Review that:
- Cut $650 million out of Medicare by slashing bulk billing incentives for diagnostic imaging and pathology
- Gutted crucial health workforce training programmes by $595 million
- Ripped another $146 million out of health prevention and eHealth
The Budget also continues to pursue two of Tony Abbott’s 2014 Budget measures:
- The $1.3 billion hike in the price of essential medicines by increasing prescription charges by $5 for general patients and $0.80 for Health Care Card Holders
- The $267 million attack on the Medicare Safety Nets
Malcolm Turnbull has proven the Liberals only ever see health as a source of Budget cuts, and will always look to make healthcare less affordable for those who need it most – the sick and the poor.
The difference between Labor and Liberal could not be starker – we’ll put people first, while the 2016 Budget has shown Mr Turnbull and the Liberal Party will look after high income earners and multinationals.