Thursday, 16 August 2018

Gippsland patients are being slugged hefty out-of-pocket expenses to visit GPs and specialists because of Malcolm Turnbull and the Federal Liberals’ Medicare freeze.

A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows patients are still being hit hard by bill shock, where doctors charge surprise fees for services that aren’t absorbed by Medicare that patients can’t afford.

In the Latrobe Valley:

  • 5 per cent of patients accessing specialists’ services are being hit with an average out-of-pocket cost of $48
  • 5 per cent of patients visiting a GP are being charged an average out-of-pocket fee of $14

When patients can’t afford to go to the GP, many turn to our already busy emergency departments, leading to further strain, while some patients will forego treatment altogether – risking their long-term health.

Out-of-pocket costs can be even more exorbitant when patients are treated by specialists or surgeons for serious illness or injury – and in many cases, the fees aren’t disclosed until it’s too late.

Malcolm Turnbull and the Federal Liberals are locked in a talk fest as they try to dance around the issue, but it’s time they took action to ensure fees are disclosed to patients before their first appointment.

Liberals have form when it comes to undermining Medicare, cost-shifting and gutting health.

They cut a billion dollars when they were last in power in Victoria – and they’ll do it again if they get the chance.

You can’t trust the Liberals when it comes to health, because all they do is cut and cost-shift.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“When Gippsland patients can’t afford to visit their GP, nobody wins. It puts added strain on our busy emergency departments – and delays treatment that ultimately makes patients sicker.”

“The Turnbull Liberal Government can’t ignore this issue any longer – vulnerable patients who have no choice but to access treatment are not being given the information they deserve.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing

“The Federal Coalition says a lot about the cost of living, but their actions just don’t measure up. Cost of living pressures matter to Australians, and they need to step up, expose and crackdown on unfair fees.”