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Treasurer responds to fixed Medicare rebate

Wednesday 4 May 2016

The AMA has strongly criticised the Federal Budget's freezing of the Medicare rebate until 2020.

AMA Victoria President Dr Tony Bartone and Treasurer Scott Morrison were interviewed on 3AW, the morning after the Budget was handed down.

Transcript of interview

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 (rates).

3AW’s Neil Mitchell
We have the Treasurer Scott Morrison in our Canberra studios. Treasurer, good morning.

Treasurer Scott Morrison
Good morning, Neil

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
Well I don’t... I see no reason why people would say that, Neil.

3AW’s Neil Mitchell
Because you have frozen the, the fixed rebate.

Treasurer Scott Morrison
Well, this is a continuing policy and we are continuing that pause. That pause has been in place for some time now and that will continue.


3AW’s Neil Mitchell
And doctors are saying "well, we will put up the bills to cope with that".


Treasurer Scott Morrison
Well, that is a decision for doctors, it is not a decision for Government.


3AW’s Neil Mitchell
Well, it is a side effect of your Budget

Treasurer Scott Morrison
No. The pause has been in place now for some time, Neil. And it has been extended because in this Budget what we’re doing is we’re not spending more than we save. It’s an economic plan to support jobs and growth and to do that you don’t tax people higher to spend higher.


3AW’s Neil Mitchell
OK, look, we can get to the message in a moment. Do you say that doctors shouldn’t be putting up their fees?

Treasurer Scott Morrison
Well, it’s a decision for them. I would expect them to continue with what they have been doing because this is a continued pause.

Listen to the full 3AW interview here.

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