Latest data has revealed that bulk billing rates have drastically fallen under the Albanese Labor Government.
Since Labor came into government, bulkbilling rates have been dropping consecutively every single month – The latest data showing a total Medicare bulkbilling rate of 77%, and 80.2% for non-referred GP appointments, in the 12 months to June this year.
These are the lowest bulkbilling rates recorded since 2013.
This is in stark comparison to the 12 months to June 2021, which saw rates at an all-time high of 88.8% under the Coalition.
The Albanese Government is overseeing plummeting bulk billing rates at a time when Australians are struggling to pay the bills, let alone cough up for an unexpected GP appointment.
Rates have continued to fall every month despite the Government’s Budget announcement that they will triple the bulkbilling incentive, showing they have failed to restore confidence in the system at this critical time.
Now it has become clear that changes to payroll taxes will only exacerbate this concerning trend and eat away at any potential benefit provided by their budget measure.
As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald this month, “patients are set to pay up to $20 more to see a GP” and the new State Government payroll taxes will “kill off bulkbilling”.
With wall-to-wall state Labor premiers on the mainland, it is astounding that the Albanese Government is letting the states effectively quash their bulkbilling budget measure with these changes.
The Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston said that this is a worrying double hit for patients.
“Bulkbilling rates are falling and the cost of seeing a GP is increasing, creating an unacceptable barrier for Australians in need of critical healthcare,” Senator Ruston said.
“The Albanese Government was elected with a promise to ‘strengthen Medicare’, yet all of the data is pointing in the exact opposite direction.”
“Despite all their rhetoric, the reality is that the Coalition Government oversaw record high bulkbilling rates while we were in Government, while Labor has let them fall to the lowest levels since the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years.”
“Medicare has been weakened from every angle, and Australians cannot afford for this concerning trend to continue,” Senator Ruston said.
Under the Albanese Labor Government, Medicare-subsidised mental health support has been slashed, less than half of their promised Urgent Care Clinics are operational, and 70 telehealth items have been cut from Medicare.
Australians must look at this Government’s actions and not their words.
Without urgent action from the Albanese Government to address the current decline in bulkbilling and rising health costs, Australians’ access to critical healthcare will be increasingly at risk.