An extra 17 million GP services were bulk billed under the Coalition last year compared with Labor following another year of record Medicare investment by the Turnbull Government, as Bill Shorten’s Mediscare lies “crumble around him” and leave the credibility of his leadership in tatters.
Minister for Health and Aged Care Sussan Ley today revealed a record 123 million out of 145 million GP services were fully-funded by the Turnbull Government at no cost to patients through Medicare during 2015-16.
This saw GP bulk billing hit a historic high of 85.1 per cent under the Turnbull Government – up from 84.3 per cent in 2014-15 – and follows the Coalition’s record $7.1 billion investment in general practice via Medicare last year.
The number of Australians accessing Medicare-funded GP services was also up by nearly half-a-million to 20.9 million last year, while the average number of services and spend per GP patient grew to 6.9 and $344 respectively.
The figures are a far cry from Labor’s Mediscare lies over the past year and raise serious questions for Mr Shorten:
‘Just weeks after it was introduced that freeze is already wreaking havoc on patients, with doctors forced to raise fees, cut bulk billing.” – Catherine King – 15 September 2015 – Media Release
Ms Ley said the figures were “good news for Australians and bad news for Labor”.
“Last year the Turnbull Government invested over $21 billion into Medicare as part of our commitment to ensuring all Australians have access to affordable universal healthcare – that’s about $60 million every day,” Ms Ley said.
“Across Australia, there were 17 million more bulk billed GP attendances in the last 12 months under the Turnbull Government compared to Labor’s last full year in office.
“These figures expose the blatant and remorseless Mediscare lies Labor – under Mr Shorten’s leadership – have been telling the Australian public over the past 12 months.
“There’s no doubt we still have work to do, but Australians should take assurance from the fact no government has invested more into Medicare than the Turnbull Government.
“And no Government has consistently overseen higher bulk billing rates than the Turnbull Government.”
Ms Ley said the Turnbull Government would increase investment in Medicare by another $4 billion over four years.
“And we’re backing that up with nearly $120 million to begin rollout out our GP-focused Health Care Homes – a better way of delivering Medicare for Australians with chronic illness.”
Overall, the number of Medicare services increased to 384 million in 2015-16 – more than one million per day – at a total cost of $21,107,750,246 – an increase of nearly $1 billion on 2014-15 – with the overall Medicare bulk billing rate also increasing to 78.2 per cent in 2015-16 from 77.6 per cent the year before.
Neither the Rudd-Gillard, nor Hawke-Keating, Labor Governments have ever delivered higher rates of Medicare investment or bulk billing than the Turnbull Coalition Government, Ms Ley said.
“This is possible because the Turnbull Government is committed to delivering a strong budget and economy that ensures we can also afford to continue investing in services important to Australians like Medicare.
“We will continue to work closely with health professionals across the board to ensure we deliver a health and Medicare system that is not only fair and focussed on quality, but efficient and sustainable for generations to come.
“In contrast, Bill Shorten’s Mediscare lies have left Labor exposed by a Leader whose credibility is now terminally damaged with the public and has weighed down his party with billions of dollars of promises they cannot afford.
“Labor is now going to have to make some tough savings decisions if they want to match the Turnbull Government’s record investment in Medicare, while at the same time building a strong economy and repairing the budget.”