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Patients will pay more to see a doctor under Abbott: Greens

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 16 Oct 2013

The Australian Greens have today criticised the Abbott Government for allowing out-of-pocket healthcare costs to rise in order to save the budget $664 million.

It was reported today that the Federal Government will not stop the previous government’s freeze on Medicare rebate indexations, which could see the cost of a GP visit rise by up to $2 and a drop in the number of bulk-billing GPs.

“The Abbott Government will make it more expensive for you to see a doctor, at the same time as trying to make it cheaper for polluters to pollute,” said Senator Richard Di Natale, Greens spokesperson for Health and former GP.

“Governing is all about priorities and it’s clear that Tony Abbott has his priorities wrong.

“When Medicare was introduced the rebate for visit to the GP equalled 71 per cent of the AMA recommended fee. But successive governments have chipped away at Medicare for decades and now, for the first time, the rebate will fall below 50 per cent.

“The Greens are steadfast in our commitment to universal healthcare because your health shouldn’t be determined by your bank balance so we have committed to move a Senate Inquiry into escalating out-of-pocket costs in healthcare.

“If the Abbott Government also believes that access to healthcare is the right of every Australian, then it should work with the Greens to address an issue that may leave many families out in the cold.”

Australian Greens spokesperson for Family and Community Services, Senator Rachel Siewert, said the cost of healthcare is a social justice issue should be at the fore this week, being Anti-Poverty Week.

“Many Australian families are forced to face the impossible choice of paying their rent or taking their sick child to the doctor,” said Senator Siewert.

“The fact that one-in-seven Australians already delay going to their doctor because of cost should be cause for reflection, especially since this in Anti-Poverty Week. Instead the Abbott Government is happy to turn a blind eye to inequality and just let it get worse.

Contacts
Andrew Blyberg (Di Natale) – 0457 901 600
Chris Redman (Siewert) – 0418 401 180

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