The latest Medicare data from July 2017 to March 2018 shows Australian patients have set a new record for the highest GP bulk-billing rate ever achieved for this period – increasing to 85.8 per cent nationwide.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said across Cairns and Far North Queensland the bulk billing rate for patients visiting their GP was even higher than the national average, growing to 87.7 per cent.
“In Cairns and Far North Queensland this rate is 4.7 per cent higher than Labor’s 83 per cent they achieved when they were last in government for the same time period,” Mr Entsch said.
“The statistics released today show more Far North Queenslanders are seeing their doctor without having to pay than ever before.
“More than 686,000 bulk billed GP visits in Cairns and Far North Queensland were provided to patients over this time period, an extra 20,955 services compared to last year.”
Mr Entsch said the government had brought in the Medicare Guarantee Fund from 1 July 2017 and this year he looked forward to delivering more record health funding.
“I want to thank the thousands of doctors across Cairns and Far North Queensland who continue to deliver world-class services to patients,” he said.
“We know Labor will attempt to run another scare campaign around Medicare but quite frankly the numbers speak for themselves.
“Labor likes to scare people into voting for them because their record in government was abysmal.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt said that the number of fully subsidised services across Medicare in Australia had also risen, with an additional 13 million bulk-billed services delivered compared to last year, with a total of 241 million bulk-billed services nationally.
“Labor should welcome these figures and cease their campaign of misinformation on Medicare and hospitals.” Minister Hunt said.
“Our commitment to Medicare is rock solid and we will continue to ensure Australian patients are supported more than ever. “
“And although more Australians are benefiting from these record figures we must continue to drive down the cost of private health insurance and address out-of-pocket costs.”
“That’s why we’re working with the medical profession to address the large and sometimes unanticipated out-of-pocket medical fees some patients face.”