LABOR WILL TACKLE BILL SHOCK FOR CANCER PATIENTS
Labor will work to ensure Australians undergoing surgery and cancer treatment aren’t hit with hidden costs that leave them with huge, unexpected bills.
Labor will invest $10 million to continue the work of cancer and consumer groups to establish a national standard for informed financial consent – giving patients clear and consistent information about the costs they will incur.
Labor will work with surgeons, GPs and other medical specialists, and patient and cancer groups to make costs more transparent, and ensure that when patients are diagnosed with cancer they know what out-of-pocket costs they will incur over the course of their cancer treatment.
Many patients who have surgery in the private system face unexpected costs, often in the thousands of dollars. At the same time as undergoing treatment, many Australians will have to adjust their employment, dropping hours or even moving from full-time to part-time. This puts additional strain on family budgets, forcing people to borrow money, access their superannuation, re-mortgage their house or increase their credit card limits just to make ends meet.
In addition to the gap costs a patient might normally expect to incur, many incur additional gap fees charged by their surgeon, out-of-pocket costs for anaesthetists, surgical assistants, pathology, administration costs and other hospital fees. And private health insurance rebates differ between insurers and products, adding to complexity and leading to large out-of-pockets in some cases.
Patients shouldn’t have to face this kind of financial stress at one of the most difficult points in their lives.
Navigating the multiple payments and interaction of private health insurance is daunting enough. When you are sick, the last thing you need is to battle reams of paperwork just to understand what the financial impact of your care will be.
Labor will provide $10 million over two years to establish a ministerial working group to develop the standard, building on the work of Cancer Council Australia and other groups.
Cancer makes you sick, but it shouldn’t make you poor.
This announcement is another part of Labor’s $2.3 billion Medicare Cancer Plan – a plan to make sure it is your Medicare card, not your credit card, that determines your access to health care.
Our Medicare Cancer Plan will deliver cheaper cancer scans, cheaper cancer specialist consultations and cheaper cancer medicines.
The Medicare Cancer Plan will cover an additional 2,000 specialist consultations a day, with no out-of-pocket costs.
For people who need a cancer scan every MRI machine, in every postcode, will be eligible for Medicare.
For CT scans, X-Rays, mammograms, and PET scans, Labor’s plan will cut out-of-pocket costs and provide up to six million free scans.
We will invest $300 million in building and upgrading cancer treatment facilities and $500 million to get people off waiting lists and getting the cancer treatment they need in public hospitals.
We can pay for our Plan because we are making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.
We’re prioritising health and hospitals, making sure Australians have access to the best medicines and care, because we’d rather have the world’s best health system not the world’s best tax loopholes.
Labor will invest in cancer care, we’ll fight for Medicare and we will always make sure it is your Medicare card, not your credit card, that determines access to health.