Federal Election 2016 : Doctors say patients will pay more for GPs campaign begins
The Turnbull government's decision to extend the Medicare rebate freeze is akin to putting a sneaky new tax on health care, doctors say.
The Australian Medical Association he Turnbull government's decision to extend the Medicare rebate freeze is akin to putting a sneaky new tax on health care, doctors say.
The Australian Medical Association is ramping up its fight against the May budget announcement, saying it's been flooded with feedback from doctors and patients who are angry the federal governmenis ramping up its fight against the May budget announcement, saying it's been flooded with feedback from doctors and patients who are angry the federal government is extending the hold on patient rebates for the next four years.
'The costs of running a medical practice - rents, staff, technology and equipment, indemnity insurance, accreditation - continue to rise year-on-year, and doctors have no choice now but to pass the costs on to patients,' AMA president Professor Brian Owler says.
'Many doctors have absorbed the impact of the freeze until now, but the two-year extension has pushed them over the edge,' he said.
The extension is also having an effect on other medical practices, such as pathology or radiology, Prof Owler said.
But Liberal frontbencher Josh Frydenberg says he believes the Turnbull government has struck the right balance in funding Medicare, with bulk-billing rates at a historic high.
Medicare funding will rise to $26 billion by 2020/21, Mr Frydenberg told ABC television on Sunday.
The bulk-billing rate has also increased to 85 per cent under the coalition compared with 79 per cent under Labor, he said.
From Monday, more than 30,000 AMA members will hang posters in their waiting rooms that warn: 'Your health will cost you more. The government has cut Medicare and wants you to pay for it'.
Doctors and patients will also be encouraged to demand their local state and federal MPs support greater funding for Medicare as part of the AMA's #nomedicarefreeze campaign.