Cancer patients will benefit from three million free consultations with their oncologists and surgeons under a $433 million boost to Medicare under a Shorten Labor Government.
The cost of consultations are the second-highest out-of-pocket cost for private system cancer patients, after surgery.
These costs can add significantly to the stress and financial burden of a cancer diagnosis, particularly given most cancer patients require a multiple follow-up consultations with specialists during their cancer journey.
For many cancer patients, this can add up to many thousands of dollars over a number of years.
That’s why Labor will introduce a new bulk-billed Medicare item to deliver more free cancer consultations as part of the biggest cancer care package in Australian history.
Our investment of $433 million over four years will boost bulk-billing rates, providing 3,000,000 free consultations from medical and radiation oncologists, as well as surgeons. These visits would otherwise attract high out-of-pocket costs.
The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government Medicare freeze has only increased the gap between what Medicare pays cancer specialists for consultations and what they typically charge patients.
Under the Liberals, the average out-of-pocket cost for each specialist appointment is now $80 – a nearly 40 per cent increase since they came to power in 2013.
These soaring out-of-pocket costs are a key reason why 1.3 million Australians now skip the medical care they need, putting their health and even their lives at risk. But the Liberals’ only response has been to announce a website.
Labor on the other hand will take real action. We will invest more in Medicare because we believe access to health care should depend on your Medicare card, not your credit card.
That’s why Labor will invest in more beds, doctors and nurses with our Better Hospitals Fund, cap private health insurance premiums for two years, end Scott Morrison’s Medicare freeze – and fund the biggest cancer care package in Australian history.
More information on Labor’s Medicare Cancer Plan is available here.
THURSDAY, 4 APRIL 2019