Record Medicare bulk billing rate a win for patients in Fisher

Record Medicare bulk billing rate a win for patients in Fisher

More patients than ever in the Sunshine Coast electorate of Fisher are seeing their doctor without paying, with the bulk-billing rate increasing to a record 88.3% in the first half of the 2017–18 financial year.

Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said “People in the southern and central Sunshine Coast saw their GP 470,526 times without paying a cent during the second half of last year. That is a record, and more than 87,000 more than the last time Labor was in power.”

Nationally the GP bulk-billing rate was 85.8 per cent. This is the highest rate on record for the July to December period and it is nearly 4% higher than Labor’s 81.9 per cent, achieved when they were last in Government.

Mr Wallace said “This is a win for patients in the Southern and central Sunshine Coast. Cost of living pressures are high, and it is reassuring to know that more people than ever in our community are visiting their doctor without reaching for their wallets. These figures put to bed the shocking lies that Labor continues to peddle about Medicare. Medicare has never been stronger.”

In total more than 65.9 million bulk billed GP visits were provided to patients over this period, an extra 3.1 million services compared to last year. The total cost of all Medicare services during the six month period was $11.6 billion, with the bulk-billing rate for all services increasing in every state and territory.

The Turnbull Government is investing more than ever – with record Medicare funding increasing each and every year from $23 billion in 2017-18, to $24 billion, to $26 billion to $28 billion in 2020-21. Spending under Labor was $19.5 billion in 2012-13.

“Our commitment to Medicare is rock solid and the figures released today show that under the Turnbull Government, Medicare is providing more support to Australian patients than ever before,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

“And although more Australians are benefiting from these record bulk-billing figures than ever before, we must continue to drive down the cost of private health insurance and address out-of-pocket costs.“

“That’s why the Turnbull Government will work with the medical profession to address the large and sometimes unanticipated out-of-pocket medical fees some patients face.”

A new expert committee chaired by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, will investigate out-of-pocket costs and options to ensure that consumers are better informed of fees before agreeing to treatment.

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Authorised by Andrew Wallace MP, Liberal National Party, 11/10 Lake Kawana Blvd, Bokarina, QLD, 4575