THE HON CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
The cost of seeing both GPs and specialists has hit a new record under Malcolm Turnbull, new Medicare data reveals.
Australians are now paying more than ever for their health – up to nearly $47 out of their own pocket to see a GP.
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 election.
In some jurisdictions, the average out-of-pocket cost of seeing a specialist has now soared well above $90.
The fact that Greg Hunt is out in the media today trying to trumpet a static GP bulk-billing rate shows just how out of touch he is.
The Australian people are too smart to fall for his spin – they know that the cost of going to the doctor has risen. That’s why so many of them are delaying going to the doctor.
Official Bureau of Statistics figures show that 1 million Australians delay or avoid seeing their GP each year due to cost, with another 1.7 million Australians skipping specialist appointments.
Yet the Liberals make the laughable claim that “Medicare has never been stronger” and their commitment to it is “rock solid”.
In fact, Turnbull is so out-of-touch he is yet to lift any part of his damaging Medicare rebate freeze.
Rebates for GPs, specialists and allied health services all remain fully frozen – and the freeze won’t be fully lifted until 2020.
As a result of this freeze, Turnbull is cutting $2.2 billion out of Medicare over the next four years – on top of the savings he has already banked.
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.
WEDNESDAY, 2 MAY 2018