May 19, 2004

Come on Mr Abbott, come clean on bulk billing in Grayndler

Come on Mr Abbott, come clean on bulk billing in Grayndler

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 19 May 2004

Bulk billing rates are unacceptably low with many families in Grayndler paying significantly higher fees every time they visit the doctor.

Anthony Albanese the Labor Member for Grayndler said new national figures revealed bulk billing was at 68.3 per cent for the March quarter – a drop of 12.4% since 1996 when Howard and Costello came to office.

“But the real story in our community is the decision by John Howard and Health Minister Tony Abbott to cover up local bulk billing figures until after the next election.

“What have they got to hide? Why won’t they publicly release bulk billing figures for Grayndler?

“The cost of seeing a non-bulk billing GP is on the rise. The national average is $14.92 – an increase of 14 per cent since the March quarter last year and an enormous 68 per cent increase since the Howard Government came to office.

 “The Howard Government’s policies mean people in Grayndler are paying far more to see a doctor.”

“Only Labor will save Medicare and restore bulk billing rates.

Labor’s $1.9 billion strategy will lift the average national rate of bulk billing back to 80 per cent; provide an additional $5 rebate to all bulk billed patients and offer powerful financial incentives to encourage more doctors to bulk bill,” Mr Albanese said.