The Albanese Labor Government’s bulk billing initiative that came into effect today has been doubted for its efficacy, with experts stating that it is unlikely to make it cheaper or easier to see a doctor.
In fact, there is absolutely no guarantee that it will result in a single additional patient being bulk billed when they go to the GP.
Even the Government has refused to put on the record whether this measure will increase bulk billing rates.
When asked in Senate Estimates last week, the Government blatantly refused to provide any quantifiable or practical measures of success for this policy.
Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, Senator Anne Ruston said that it is incredibly disappointing that the Government considers success as maintaining the current status quo.
‘There is no doubt that urgent action is needed. Bulk billing rates have dropped every single month under the Albanese Labor Government, plummeting to the lowest levels since 2013.
‘This is despite bulk billing rates being at record highs before the Coalition left government, and comes at a time when the cost of seeing a GP is rising to over $100 per consult.
‘This concerning trend has continued even following the Government’s announcement on tripling the bulkbilling incentive, showing they have failed to restore confidence in the system,’ Senator Ruston said.
The latest data shows that the national bulk billing rate for non-referred GP appointments fell to 80.2% in the 12 months to June this year, which is the lowest level seen since the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Government.
The Albanese Government’s failure to state a clear intention to achieve a higher GP bulk billing rate gives Australians no confidence that they will stop this downward trend, as the costs of healthcare continue to rise.