Menu
News

Medicare changes will lead to higher costs: GP

THE Federal Government's changes to the Medicare rebate have been labelled nonsense by Gladstone GP Dr John Bird.

The government will reduce the co-payment on GP services by $5 for patients who are not concession card holders, retirees, children under 16, veterans or aged-care residents.

The principal of the Gladstone GP Super Clinic said the cut to the rebate would lead to increased health costs for users.

"We are talking about 2% of healthcare costs. The co-payment applies to a small proportion of total healthcare costs," he said.

"Those costs are likely to contribute to increased costs that will be greater than the amount saved.

"Increased costs manifest themselves as increased specialist rebates, hospital costs, costs relating to later presentations, loss of time at work and early retirement due to ill health."

Dr Bird said the economics didn't make sense.

"Tony Abbott has targeted a relatively small number of services with the reduction in rebates but that particular sector currently cross-subsidises those who are bulk-billed," he said.

"Without that subsidy the whole of the bulk-billing system is placed in jeopardy."

He said he was concerned young doctors did not want to become GPs.

"Young doctors and medical students are opting not to do general practice rather choosing to specialise, which will lead to increased Medicare costs," he said.

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the change to the Medicare rebate schedule encouraged doctors to spend more time with patients.

"The government has addressed the issue of 'six-minute medicine' by encouraging doctors to spend time with patients and providing quality health services," he said.

Topics:  editors picks gladstone gp superclinic gp john bird medicare politics



Regions declared big winners in SCU funding deal

ALL SMILES: Professor Shoemaker is thrilled by the deal struck with the Federal Government.

Funding deal puts Allied Health campus in Coffs back on track

Swimmer missing at Valla while others rescued along Coast

An IRB is searching the waters at Valla Beach for a missing swimmer.

Search for missing man caught in Valla rip will start again at 6am.

Axemen start season with bang in 9s

The Hoey Moey Tooheys Coffs Coast 9s final at Geoff King Motors Park was played between Group 2 rivals the Coffs Harbour Comets and the Orara Valley Axemen who won 12-10. Nines rugby league 17 February 2018 Photo: Brad Greenshields/Coffs Coast Advocate

Promised improvement more than just empty words after Coffs Coast 9s

Local Partners