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Federal Budget 2016-2017

Medicare rebate - frozen until June 2020

The Government is extending the freeze on the Medicare rebate indexation until June 2020.

The AMA is highly critical of this decision, as patients will pay more to see a doctor as many doctor's will be forced to pass on skyrocketing practice costs in order to remain viable.

AMA Victoria’s Dr Tony Bartone spoke to 3AW’s Neil Mitchell this morning, and this was followed by the Treasurer’s response:

AMA’s Dr Tony Bartone
It will cost you more to see a doctor, this year, next year, the year after – the out of pocket. When you go and see a doctor – a surgeon, an obstetrician, a physician, you will pay more out of pocket. The rebate has been frozen since 2014 and it has continued to be frozen until 2020. When what you get back from Medicare, when you see a doctor, will remain fixed at 2014.

3AW’s Neil Mitchell
OK, I have just been told that the price of going to a doctor is going up. You reaction to that, because of the Budget?

Treasurer Scott Morrison
I see no reason why people would say that, Neil.

See the full transcript here, and the Treasurer’s reasons for freezing the Medicare rebate until June 2020:

Hospital Funding

$2.9 billion will be provided for public hospitals over the forward estimates. This increase delivers on the April 2016 COAG agreement. While the growth is positive, it is important to note that Victoria’s share of growth in hospital funding continues to be downgraded. Furthermore, the growth in Federal Government contributions is capped at 6.5% per year over this period.

AMA Victoria remains concerned about the continued deterioration of year on year growth funding.

Tobacco price increase

The announcement of an increase in the tobacco price is positive news. There will be a series of 12.5% increases in excise for each of the next four years. That means a packet of cigarettes will cost about $40 in 2020.

We know that price increases, education campaigns as well as restrictions to where smoking is permitted reduces our smoking rates from about 25% of the population in the early 1990s to closer to 13% now.

Training our doctors of the future

Additional medical internships in Australia will be created under the Commonwealth Medical Internships (CMI) program within the 2016-2017 Federal Budget.

However our examination of the Departmental Data creates uncertainty as to the final allocation of internship places that will result each year. 

We also welcome the fact that an additional medical school is not part of the Budget. Another medical school would have wasted valuable health resources on a facility superfluous to requirements. AMA Victoria has lobbied against this.


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