Medicare is bleeding to death. Will Labor ever do anything about it?

Feb 27, 2024
Australian Medicare card with calculator and cash background.

GP visits are down 37% since the government took office. But all we get is spin.

Decades of inadequate funding and poor policy has driven Medicare to the point of crisis and beyond — and the crunch-point coincided with the election of the Albanese government. It looks as if GP clinics had held out in the hope that a Labor government would do something. That hasn’t happened, and hundreds of practices have given up bulk-billing altogether. Nationally, only a quarter of GP clinics were still bulk-billing everyone at the end of last year for a standard consultation. That’s a fall of 32% in just 12 months.

Meanwhile, a cost-of-living crisis is forcing many Australians to choose between food, rent, petrol — and going to the doctor. It’s hardly surprising that doctor visits have collapsed so dramatically, with serious health implications.

A close look at the budget figures show the government has made big savings as a result of fewer people making claims on Medicare — $2.8 billion this year alone. But they’re only putting only a bit more than half of that back into the system and squirrelling the rest away to help the budget surplus. They talk loudly about the second but keep very quiet about the first

They’re reduced to lying blatantly to the public in press releases and press conferences. And journalists around the country, rather than looking for the truth, have swallowed the lies.

Medicare is perhaps the greatest creation of postwar Labor governments. Whitlam and Hawke thought they were entrenching universal healthcare as a permanent fixture in Australian life. Under Albanese, that great ideal has all but died.

Read the full article at the The Policy Post:

Medicare is bleeding to death. Will Labor ever do anything about it?

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