9 May 2023
INCREASED BULK BILLING INCENTIVE PAYMENTS ARE A WELCOME INITIATIVE FOR REGIONAL, RURAL & REMOTE AUSTRALIA
The increased bulk billing incentive will be a major benefit for primary healthcare in regional, rural & remote Australia and will help retain and attract GPs into those areas. The benefits will be much lower for metro Australians.
A short consultation in remote Australia is now funded at $79.40, but a metro Australian is only worth $60.40. With metro fee rates already at over $90 the opportunity cost for a doctor to bulk bill in metro Australia is approximately $30.
The Australian GP Alliance is pleased that the Commonwealth Government is attempting to increase access to primary healthcare for vulnerable Australians and restructure support for chronic disease management. It is vital that any new scheme does not diminish access of care for the 50% of Australians living with a chronic disease.
The Commonwealth Government must work with States & Territories to stop taxing Commonwealth Medicare patient payments and all medical professional fees. Until this is done the good intent from this budget will be unsuccessful.
The increased bulk billing incentive may not increase bulk billing rates for vulnerable Australians in NSW, QLD and Victoria. The major threat to bulk billing in those states is State Government tax on GP medical professional fees.
State payroll tax has the potential to undermine and diminish the benefits that this budget measure is intended to address.
The Australian GP Alliance welcomes the announcement of a CDC for Australia and sees this as an essential development in Australian public health policy