Medicare’s bulk billing rates are falling, prompting urgent calls for an overhaul of federal funding

The Australian Medical Association is asking the government to overhaul indexing to ensure rebates better reflect the rising costs of providing medical care and running a practice, which it says would encourage more GPs to use bulk billing.

AMA President Steve Robson said access to GPs is becoming more of a challenge by the day.

“We expect this to be a focus of discussion when national cabinets meet to discuss our ailing healthcare system,” he said.

“The Federal Minister of Health recently again recognized the explosiveness of this topic. Now he must act. The time for talking is over.”

Factoring in inflation and a growing population, Robson said the average federal contribution to Medicare claims has fallen more than 5 percent in real terms over the past two decades, putting significant cost pressures on physicians.

“Successive governments have rotated Australians for 20 years,” he said.

Butler said primary health care is in its worst state since Medicare began and he has asked the Department of Health to give him a full and more accurate picture of mass billing in Australia.

“The reality is that after nine years of cuts and neglect from the previous government, it has never been more difficult or more expensive for Australians to see a GP,” he said.

“The Albanian government is committed to investing in general medicine and strengthening Medicare.”

The Resolve poll found that 82 percent of Australians either support or strongly support an increase in the Medicare rebate.

When asked what their top priority for additional funding was, 46 percent said they should increase the Medicare discount; while 29 percent cited increased hospital funding; and 16 percent said they set up a network of after-hours medical clinics.

Resolve Director Jim Reed said the issue of falling bulk billing tariffs is the two biggest concerns for Coalition and Labor voters.


“People appreciate that the government is tightening the purse strings, but this is one of those issues that touches on two important issues: the cost of living and health care,” he said.

“Even if you don’t belong to one of these older age categories, there is such a thing as caring for others in our society. Younger people have parents and grandparents.” Medicare’s bulk billing rates are falling, prompting urgent calls for an overhaul of federal funding

Callan Tansill

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