Lower Medicare rebates and ongoing doctor shortages are causing bottlenecks in the healthcare system, but do not take it out on your GPs.

The Coalition Government has made reductions to the rural bulk billing incentives, around Cessnock and Lake Macquarie. The problems originate from Government policy in Canberra and I call on my local constituents to refrain from being abusive or argumentative with your doctors. It’s not their fault and they are also struggling with the changes.

The changes to Medicare bulk billing incentives began this year when the federal Department of Health used a new data system to classify ‘rural’, ‘remote’ and ‘regional’ areas. Under the changes, parts of Gosford-Wyong, Maitland and Newcastle were reclassified from ‘regional’ to ‘metropolitan’ which meant the incentive for bulk billing children and concession patients fell from $9.65 per visit, to $6.40. This is a 34 per cent cut which meant many GPs decided to bill privately, incurring out-of-pocket expenses for patients.

Labor is asking the Government to revisit these changes and ensure that the Medicare system can service the entire community, regardless of their socio-economic status or the postcode they live in.


You can watch the speech I made in Parliament on reversing the bulk-billing cuts below: