Federal member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has announced more patients in Far North Queensland are seeing a doctor without having to reach for their wallet, thanks to Medicare.
Mr Entsch said local GP bulk billing rates for the 2016-17 financial year increased to 87.2 per cent compared to 86.2 per cent in 2015-16.
This is the highest bulk billing rate in Leichhardt for any financial year since the inception of Medicare,” Mr Entsch said.
In the June 2017 quarter, national bulk billing rates reached record levels at 86.4%, that’s up from 85.9% the previous June. Historically this quarter is always high due to the winter flu season.
For the year 2016-17, there were more than 127.5 million bulk billed GP general visits, that’s an increase of 21 million or 3.5% under the Government than during Labor’s time in office in 2012-13.
Patients also accessed 8.2 million more fully subsidised Medicare services compared to 2015-16, with a total of 308.6 million bulk billed services in 2016-2017.
The total bulk billing rate for Medicare services in 2016-17 was 78.3%, that’s an increase of 0.1% over the previous year.
The total cost of all Medicare benefits paid last financial year was $22.0 billion, which is an increase of 4.2%.
“Our commitment to Medicare is rock-solid with funding increasing every year from $23 billion in 2017-18 to $28 billion in 2020-21,” Mr Entsch said.
“These figures released today by the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services show that Medicare is stronger than ever in Far North Queensland, and we will continue to ensure it is strengthened even further into the future,” Mr Entsch said.
“Universal access to medical services, public hospitals and medicines through Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is something Far North Queenslanders rightly expect, and something the Government is delivering on.
“Our Long Term National Health Plan will ensure all Australians continue to be supported by one of the best health systems in the world long into the future,” Mr Entsch said.