The cost of health care is spiralling out of control under Malcolm Turnbull, with a new report completely demolishing the Government’s claims around Medicare bulk billing rates and out-of-pocket costs.
After four years of the Abbott-Turnbull Medicare freeze, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report has finally laid bare the full extent of the health affordability crisis in Australia.
Despite Turnbull’s promise that no one would pay more to see a doctor under his Government, the report shows Australians are spending nearly $30 billion on out of pocket health expenses a year.
That includes $3 billion a year on non-hospital Medicare-subsidised services.
Half of all patients have incurred out-of-pocket costs to see a GP or specialist, or to have blood tests, X-rays or other scans.
Seventy per cent of patients seeing specialists made some out-of-pocket payment. And more than a million people spent $600 or more on medical gap fees.
As a result of these soaring costs, 1.3 million people are either delaying or skipping seeing a doctor or getting a test when they need to – putting their wellbeing and possibly even their lives at risk.
The report also exposes Greg Hunt’s bulk billing lies. The data shows only 66 per cent of patients are bulk billed by their GP – a far cry from the 86 per cent figure the Minister trots out on a daily basis.
The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association now confirms the figures cited by the Minister cited are “misleading”. That’s a nice way of saying they are a complete con-job and totally meaningless.
Despite all this, the Government has done nothing on out-of-pocket costs, shunting the issue off to a committee and saying nothing more about it.
The Liberals make the laughable claim that “Medicare has never been stronger” and their commitment to it is “rock solid”.
And yet they still haven’t fully lifted their Medicare freeze, with elements to remain in place for a further two years – forcing these out of control costs up even further.
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.
THURSDAY, 16 AUGUST 2018