A worrying pattern is developing, with the Albanese Labor Government putting even more cuts to healthcare on the table this week.
Two critical MBS items, 699 and 177, that allow Australians affordable access to heart health checks from their GP may soon be removed from Medicare by the Government.
In government, the Coalition introduced these Medicare-funded heart health checks to ensure that Australians at risk of heart disease have access to timely and appropriate medical advice.
At a time when we know elective surgery waiting lists are exploding and the cost of seeing a doctor has risen to $60 out-of-pocket for some families, it is disgraceful for the Government to even consider removing these critical health services.
The Albanese Labor Government must immediately confirm whether these MBS items are being removed and whether they will ensure Australians retain access to affordable heart health checks.
This shameful development comes on top of the Government’s decision to permanently remove the life-changing Diabetes medicine Fiasp from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which will impact 15,000 Australians who rely on this fast-acting insulin.
It also follows their decision not to list Trikafta on the PBS for children with cystic fibrosis, despite it receiving the approval of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and the calls of expert bodies.
Following all their rhetoric on Medicare, we have already seen the Government slash Medicare-subsidised mental health support in half, cut 70 telehealth items, and send bulkbilling rates plummeting after they were at record highs when we left government.
It is clear that no aspect of the healthcare system is safe under Labor.
We know that when Labor was last in government, they stopped listing new medicines because they couldn’t manage money. We now have serious concerns that history is already repeating itself.
Minister Butler must stop letting Jim Chalmers use the health portfolio to help out his budget bottom-line.
The Coalition is calling on the Minister to use his discretion to ensure Fiasp can remain permanently on the PBS, to urgently list Trikafta for children with cystic fibrosis, and to guarantee that he will not remove Medicare-funded heart health checks.