Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Medicare: what a difference two years, two unpopular budgets and a close run federal election make to ministerial attitudes

THEN it was a bad, bad thing….

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 January 2014:

Health Minister Peter Dutton has predicted an overhaul of Medicare, saying spiralling costs will make the system ''unmanageable'' without change.
In an interview with Fairfax Media, Mr Dutton gave the strongest signal yet that the Abbott government may adopt a politically explosive proposal to charge a $6 fee to visit the doctor…..
Annual spending on Medicare climbed from $8.1 billion in 2002-03 to $17.8 billion, an increase of 120 per cent. Growth in Medicare spending was faster than growth in the total health budget of 104 per cent over the decade, and Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule spending, which rose 79 per cent over the same period.

News.com,au, 18 March 2015:

A NEW report has found 880,000 Australians see their GP more than 20 times a year and account for 17.1 per cent or $2.8 billion of the nation’s non hospital Medicare spend.
These people receive more than $3,200 a year each in non hospital Medicare payments and nearly half of them were also admitted to hospital, the National Health Performance Authority says.
There are 2.3 million Australians who see their doctor more than 12 times a year and they are eating up forty one per cent (16 billion) of the Medicare budget.
These patients received on average $1,850 in non hospital Medicare payments.

NOW it is something to celebrate….

Liberal MP for Farrer and Australian Minister for Health and Aging, Sussan Ley, media release, 28 August 2016:

An extra 17 million GP services were bulk billed under the Coalition last year compared with Labor following another year of record Medicare investment by the Turnbull Government, as Bill Shorten’s Mediscare lies “crumble around him” and leave the credibility of his leadership in tatters.
Minister for Health and Aged Care Sussan Ley today revealed a record 123 million out of 145 million GP services were fully-funded by the Turnbull Government at no cost to patients through Medicare during 2015-16.
This saw GP bulk billing hit a historic high of 85.1 per cent under the Turnbull Government – up from 84.3 per cent in 2014-15 – and follows the Coalition’s record $7.1 billion investment in general practice via Medicare last year.
The number of Australians accessing Medicare-funded GP services was also up by nearly half-a-million to 20.9 million last year, while the average number of services and spend per GP patient grew to 6.9 and $344 respectively…..
Overall, the number of Medicare services increased to 384 million in 2015-16 – more than one million per day – at a total cost of $21,107,750,246 – an increase of nearly $1 billion on 2014-15 – with the overall Medicare bulk billing rate also increasing to 78.2 per cent in 2015-16 from 77.6 per cent the year before.

I suspect that  a number of government MPs will be making appointments with their local chiropractor after repeating this spectacular backflip.

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