National Seniors is keeping up the pressure on the re-elected Morrison Government to address the root causes of rising health care costs. The Coalition (and Labor) agreed to end the Medicare freeze and resume indexation of Medicare rebates from 1 July 2019. This is good news. It will ensure that Medicare payments to GPs and medical specialists increase, which will help maintain bulk-billing rates and reduce out-of-pocket expenses.
The Coalition’s commitment to creating a website to list specialist’s fees and give greater transparency for consumers is a step in the right direction. We called for it as part of our campaign and we will work with the government to ensure it is an effective tool to help consumers make informed choices. In this regard, National Seniors will call on the federal government to make the website compulsory for all specialists. A voluntary website will not work.
The other important part of the puzzle is to raise consumer awareness about choice. Patients can choose which medical specialists they go to and do not have to follow their GP’s recommendation. However, consumers will continue to accept the GP’s recommendation unless they know they have choice.
To keep up the pressure on the government we need to be able to provide evidence of the extent of the problem with specialists’ fees. We are collecting stories to help us raise awareness about this problem. You can help by providing us with the following information:
- Have you ever received a bill for specialist services that was excessive?
- Have you had a GP refer you to a specialist for services that seemed unnecessary?
- Have you ever felt a specialist has recommended a procedure that was unnecessary or where alternative options were not adequately explored?
Information you provide will be de-identified and used to demonstrate examples of excess costs or unnecessary procedures.