CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
LABOR CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO SURGEON “BOOKING FEE” RORTS
Labor wants an urgent investigation into allegations some surgeons are charging their patients out-of-pocket “booking fees” of up to $6000.
Medical booking and administration fees are predatory and unethical.
While we have every confidence that most Australian surgeons have only the best interests of their patients at heart, the ABC’s Four Corners investigation into out-of-pocket costs shows there are some unscrupulous profiteers who need to be brought into line.
We call on the Turnbull Government to order an immediate ACCC investigation to establish how widespread this practice is and come up with recommendations for stamping it out.
Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt have done nothing to address out-of-pocket costs.
Instead of tackling the issue as part of their private health insurance package last year they shunted it off to a committee and that was the last we heard of it.
Labor is also concerned some surgeons are charging exorbitant rates for their services, leaving many people with unexpected and massive bills even if they belong to a private health fund.
We believe there needs to be better transparency of fees and more accountability for surgeons who overcharge.
This behaviour can add significant stress to patients when they are at their most vulnerable. It also undermines public trust in Australia’s world-class health system and cannot be allowed to persist.
We welcome the fact that the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons are similarly concerned about these issues. We are committed to helping them address it.
Australians are already struggling with the rising cost of private health insurance, which is why Labor has committed to capping premium price rises at 2 per cent for two years.
People are also facing higher out-of-pocket costs when they see GPs or specialists thanks to the Liberals’ ongoing Medicare rebate freeze.
Only Labor has a real plan to bring down health care costs.
TUESDAY, 29 MAY 2018