Record Medicare bulk billing rate a win for patients in Wide Bay
More Wide Bay patients are seeing their doctor without paying a cent, with the bulk-billing rate increasing to a record 86.4 per cent in the first half of the 2017–18 financial year.
In Wide Bay, that means 442,875 doctor appointments were bulk-billed, Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said.
“These figures are a win for patients in Wide Bay, and show that Medicare has never been stronger – putting to bed the shocking lies that Labor continues to peddle about Medicare,” Mr O’Brien said.
Nationally, the number of patients bulk-billed was 85.8 per cent, the highest GP bulk-billing rate on record for the July to December period and nearly 4% higher than Labor’s 81.9 per cent, which they achieved when they were last in Government.
“While the bulk billing rate in Wide Bay is higher than the national average, I know that it can be difficult to see a bulk billing doctor in some parts of the electorate, and I am continuing to highlight this to the Government.”
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.
The Coalition 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 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.