Record Medicare bulk billing rate a win for New England patients
08 Mar 2018
More patients in the New England are seeing their doctor without paying a cent, with the bulk-billing rate increasing to a record 85.8 per cent in the first half of the 2017–18 financial year.
This is the highest GP bulk-billing rate on record for the July to December period and it is nearly 4% higher than Labor’s 81.9 per cent, which they achieved when they were last in Government.
Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said in his electorate alone, the total number of GP services that have been bulk billed is 319,722 which is up from 257,783 under Labor.
“We’re also up more than 7,000 bulk billed services over the same period the previous year,” Mr Joyce said.
“This is a win for patients in the New England and 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 time 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.
And there is more investment 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 Coalition 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, we must continue to drive down the cost of private health insurance and address out-of-pocket costs.
“That’s why the Coalition 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.