I am pleased that the Prime Minister said the Government is reviewing the freeze on the Medicare rebate for visits to the GP, in response to my question in the Parliament today. But I am very disappointed that he would not make a commitment to lift the freeze which is driving down bulk billing rates and making disadvantaged Australians pay more.
Yes, the freeze was started under Labor but the current Government extended it and they are the ones who have the power to stop it.
It’s misleading for the Prime Minister to claim bulk billing is increasing when in fact nationwide there has been a fall for three consecutive quarters in the bulk billing rate for GP visits lasting less than 20 minutes, and in Tasmania the bulk billing rate for non-referred GP services fell by more than two per cent in the last quarter. In Denison a number of practices have ceased bulk billing entirely in recent times.