Announced tonight in the 2017/18 Federal Budget, Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has welcomed the partial end to the four-year freeze on the Medicare rebate, however asserts the savings should be passed on to consumers to reduce the financial burden of accessing medical care.
Bulk-billing incentives for GPs will be indexed from 1 July 2017, with standard consultations by GPs and specialist attendances to be indexed from 1 July 2018. Specialist procedures and allied health service indexation will commence from 1 July 2019. The government will also recommence indexation of certain diagnostic imaging listed on the MBS from 2020.
CHA acknowledges growing costs associated with the provision of high-quality health care and welcomes the incremental abandonment of the Medicare rebate freeze to relieve the burden placed on clinicians. CHA’s CEO, Suzanne Greenwood, is adamant that the abolishment of the freeze must ensure translation to a relative reduction in out-of-pocket costs for Australian taxpayers.