The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, joined pathologist and CEO of Hobart Pathology, Dr Lawrie Bott, and pathologist Dr Penny Yarrow, to condemn the Federal Government’s cuts to bulk billing incentives for pathology services.
“The Federal Government’s decision to remove bulk billing incentives paid to pathology providers from 1 July 2016 is ill-considered and must be reversed,” Mr Wilkie said.
“Pathology services are essential for many Australians and all removing this bulk billing incentive will do is make sick people pay more or be discouraged from seeking treatment.
“These cuts are the latest in a series of brutal attacks on our health system by this Government. First we had billions of dollars stripped from state health budgets, then at least two attempts to introduce a GP co-payment. Not to mention cuts to allied health such as a reduction in the Medicare rebate for optometry services and ending of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.
“In other words the Abbott-Turnbull Government is systematically dismantling Australia’s universal free health care system and replacing it with a US-style user-pays arrangement.
“Australia is a rich and fortunate country and there’s no reason why we can’t have the best health system in the world. We just need strong political leaders who recognise the benefits of providing these services, rather than just looking at them as numbers on a balance sheet.
“This is another so-called saving that will be especially unfair for Tasmanians because we have the worst health outcomes of any state and the highest reliance on Medicare.”