SENATOR THE HON KATY GALLAGHER
SENATOR FOR THE ACT
THE HON MARK BUTLER MP
MINISTER HEALTH AND AGED CARE
THE HON DR ANDREW LEIGH MP
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY
MEMBER FOR FENNER
DAVID SMITH MP
MEMBER FOR BEAN
ALICIA PAYNE MP
MEMBER FOR CANBERRA
MORE BULK BILLING AND LOWER GAP FEES IN CANBERRA THANKS TO ALBANESE GOVERNMENT
The GP bulk billing rate in Canberra and the ACT has risen by 1.9 percentage points in the first two months since the Albanese Government tripled the bulk billing incentive.
The landmark Budget initiative is a key part of the Government’s $6.1 billion Strengthening Medicare reforms and is the largest investment in bulk billing in Medicare’s 40-year history.
In October, before the incentive was tripled, 51.5% of all GP visits in the ACT were bulk billed. In December that increased to 53.4%.
The increase in the bulk billing rate means that an estimated 2,800 additional trips to the GP were bulk billed in Canberra since the tripled incentive began on 1 November.
The extra free visits are benefitting the health and hip pockets of people in the ACT.
The average gap fee in the ACT has also fallen in those November and December, falling from $47.84 in October to $45.47 in December – a reduction of $2.37.
Nationally, the GP bulk billing rate has risen by 2.1 percentage points to 77.7%.
Bulk billing had been falling after a decade of cuts and neglect to Medicare by the former Government that began when Peter Dutton froze Medicare rebates as Health Minister.
Thanks to the Albanese Government, bulk billing has now stabilised and begun to rise again, enabling GPs to bulk bill more patients who need care the most.
The bulk billing incentive is paid on top of the standard Medicare benefit when doctors bulk bill children under 16, pensioners and other Commonwealth concession card holders.
The GP bulk billing rate measures the proportion of all GP visits that involved no patient payment.
Quotes attributable to Senator for the ACT the Hon Katy Gallagher:
“Labor introduced Medicare and only Labor can be trusted to strengthen and protect it.
“Canberrans are finding it easier to see a bulk billing doctor and gap fees have begun to fall because of Labor’s efforts to strengthen Medicare.
“This is delivering significant cost of living relief for people in the ACT.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health the Hon Mark Butler MP:
“Doctors’ groups have called our tripling of the bulk billing incentive a ‘game changer’ – and clearly it is.
“The Albanese Government committed to making it easier for people to see a bulk billing doctor – and the first two months of data show that is exactly what is happening right around the country, including in the ACT.
“This is a win all round – for patients, doctors and the health system – and it is helping make Medicare stronger than it has ever been since Labor introduced it 40 years ago.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Fenner the Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP:
“Being able to see a bulk-billed doctor can be a gamechanger for household budgets.
“Labor’s changes are all about making sure that cost pressures don’t deter people from getting the medical care they need.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Bean David Smith MP:
“Communities across the south of Canberra understand the importance of Medicare and it is good to see that our policy on strengthening of Medicare is starting to make a difference on the ground.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Canberra Alicia Payne MP:
“Labor is taking strong steps to ensure that Canberrans are able to receive quality health care without worrying about making ends meet.
“The increase to the Medicare bulk billing incentive is making Medicare stronger and the evidence speaks for itself.”
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 1 2024