6th Jul 2018
Medicare rebate is sick and must be lifted, say GPs
Author: Janelle Ward
Medicare rebate is sick and must be lifted, say GPs

An increasing number of doctors are turning away people with complex problems in order to see enough patients to maintain a profitable practice and meet any loan repayments.

The problem is stagnating Medicare rebates that failed to keep pace with cost-of-living rises after they were frozen in 2014. Indexation resumed in July but, according to Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone, the damage has already been done.

He says it is not a case of doctors crying poor, arguing that if Medicare rates had kept up with the Consumer Price Index, they would be more than double the current rate.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is calling for all Medicare rebates for GP consultations to be increased by 18.5 per cent and for a new payment of $163 for consultations lasting an hour or more.

RACGP president Dr Bastian Seidel says he is hearing about more instances of longer appointments being refused because they are not financially viable.

“They are saying, ‘It’s 10 minutes and the patient goes out’. And people are being told, ‘If you have a mental health condition, you probably have to go elsewhere’.

“I’m concerned that some places are refusing to see children for the same reason.

“So all of a sudden, you don’t have the comprehensive care that patients deserve. If it’s more complicated, you have to go elsewhere.”

GPs can receive $37.60 from Medicare for a consultation of less than 20 minutes, $71.70 for a long consultation and $105.55 for a prolonged consultation.

Dr Seidel says that GPs want to spend more time with their patients to talk through health issues and potentially prevent longer-term problems.

“Medicare should support and not punish comprehensive and compassionate care,” he says. “It’s what our patients deserve. It’s time for politicians to act.”

In addition to more patients heading to hospital emergency departments for minor issues, Dr Seidel warns that it is becoming increasingly difficult for practices, particularly rural practices, to make ends meet.

The Tasmanian-based GP said three doctors recently announced they were leaving the small town of St Helens on the Tasmanian coast.

“Why are they leaving?” he said. “Let’s be realistic about it. It’s a rural community. There is a high rate of disability and unemployment. Everyone expects to be bulk billed.

“Doctors can’t go broke, so before they go broke, they leave – and that’s what happened.”

A Health Department spokesman said the request for an 18.5 per cent rise in the rebate had been referred to the Medicare Benefits Schedule taskforce.

Do you prefer to go to a bulk-billing practice to avoid out-of-pocket expenses? Do you find the doctor clock-watching?

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    COMMENTS

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    Ginty 01
    6th Jul 2018
    10:31am
    The government could easily afford to increase the Medicare rebate - all they have to do is take the cheque book away from Julie Bishop!

    6th Jul 2018
    10:34am
    Not surprising
    This is a consequence of socialized medicine
    Cost keep going up and up and the taxpayer is expected to just pay more taxes
    The sooner he lah care is privatized the better. GP costs will drop the rorting by GP’s will end
    maelcolium
    6th Jul 2018
    12:24pm
    you are an idiot
    almost a grey hair
    6th Jul 2018
    12:32pm
    This is why at some stage the user must pay something, we simply cannot expect those on a higher income or those that are better educated to pay more and more tax whilst we have people who have paid little or no tax to receive the same benefits. Those that are well qualified eg doctors and specialists should rec higher income should they not
    TREBOR
    6th Jul 2018
    1:02pm
    Pay your full taxes and be proud of it and of the opportunities this nation has given you on the backs of its workers.
    Knows-a-lot
    6th Jul 2018
    3:22pm
    No Raphael, it's a consequence of Rightard incompetence and stupidity. Clearly you believe proper medical care should be available only to you and your rich Lieberal mates. Bugger the poor, right? Thank God for "socialized medicine".
    Knows-a-lot
    6th Jul 2018
    3:23pm
    Ah, privitization... Look at how well that's worked - NOT!
    Knows-a-lot
    6th Jul 2018
    3:26pm
    @ almost a grey hair. You write: "we simply cannot expect those on a higher income or those that are better educated to pay more and more tax whilst we have people who have paid little or no tax to receive the same benefits."

    Yes, we can expect that. We live in a first-world country. EVERYBODY should have access to affordable and excellent health care. The rich can afford to pay higher tax-rates without it adversely affecting their bourgeois life-style, so they SHOULD pay more tax.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    6th Jul 2018
    5:59pm
    Absolutely right, Knows-a-lot. In CIVILISED countries, progressive tax systems ensure everyone has access to decent health care, education, and income support when needed. That's as it SHOULD be. Most less well off contribute a great deal to society through offering their labour for much less than it's really worth so entrepreneurs and business can profit and governments can function. Then there is the unpaid voluntary community and charity work they do and their contribution by raising children who will work and pay taxes. None of that is rewarded except through welfare and government services that enhance their quality of life. These benefits are A MORAL AND ETHICAL ENTITLEMENT. Only greedy, selfish, self-serving, immoral SCUM subscribe to the view that the wealthy should pay less tax.
    Anonymous
    6th Jul 2018
    9:09pm
    You’re back Rainey
    I thought you had left for good or finally come to your senses
    Alas same old negative lefty loonie
    TREBOR
    7th Jul 2018
    12:52am
    You are always welcome to do without the contribution of the Raineys of this world, Rafe.

    Go ... seek your own way in the wilderness... alone....
    Rae
    7th Jul 2018
    8:20am
    No not a grey hair they should not. The argument has always been that essential services where a large number of workers are needed should be price controlled. I can't see why medical staff are any different to police, firefighters etc. They are all well qualified. Even the mechanic that keeps you safe on the road and look what they've done to those poor guy's wages.
    Noodles
    8th Jul 2018
    9:47am
    If the decline in private health insurance continues the waiting lists will get longer and longer for those uninsured.
    Hoohoo
    9th Jul 2018
    6:47pm
    Raphael can be excused for his radical outbursts, as he is a psychopathic Fascist.
    I see above, him accusing OGRainey of having indicated she'd left this blog & changed her mind. WRONG Drongo, that was me. But I'm still watching you & such paid scum, ready to call you out EVERY TIME I see you lie or deceive.
    Hoohoo
    9th Jul 2018
    6:55pm
    And thank God for socialised medicine & our civilised society. Thank you Rainey, Not a grey Hair, Knows-a-lot, Trebor, Noodles & Ginty 01 for your wise & thoughtful comments.

    Stop the Fascists trying to destroy our peaceful homes.
    I'm talking about you, Raphael.
    TREBOR
    10th Jul 2018
    12:13am
    How so, noodles? Are the number of patients suddenly going to rise? If it were done on a first come-first served basis as befits the honourable medical professions, there would be no change in waiting list length - just in the order that people are done.
    Noodles
    12th Jul 2018
    4:26pm
    Elective surgery is what I am talking about: hip replacements, knee replacements, etc. My friend had to wait 12 months due to the fact that hers was not as bad as someone else...she was still in pain during all that time.

    If she had private cover she would have been treated very quickly.

    The waiting list for a public patient where I live for a follow up bowel cancern screen due to increased risk was 3 months a few years ago, now it is 12 months or longer.
    4b2
    6th Jul 2018
    11:04am
    Wow if workers wages kept up with the CPI as well every body would be hapy.
    almost a grey hair
    6th Jul 2018
    11:12am
    You do not have to go to a doctor that bulk bills. My own local practice bulk billed and I sometimes had to wait 2 weeks to get in for a ten min appointment, waiting room full of people and always running late. Now it costs $20 during week and $30 on a Saturday, brilliant, now I can get in same or next day, no waiting time and not an oldie in sight. Maybe we should work towards a user pays system instead of a crippling welfare system. Don't knock it until you have tried it
    Rosret
    6th Jul 2018
    12:56pm
    It was the other way around where I lived. I would pay a huge gap, have to wait three days for an appointment and then sit in the waiting room for over an hour.
    I gave up in the end and went to a free doctor. That day. On time. Efficient ...- and saved my life! I really can't say thank you enough to that team.
    TREBOR
    6th Jul 2018
    1:04pm
    Anecdotal evidence - all well and good.. I get the bulk billing... I've also shared surgeons with the then state premier's wife, and neither of us paid a cent.
    Knows-a-lot
    6th Jul 2018
    3:28pm
    The reason for long waits where consultations are bulk-billed is because so many people cannot afford exorbitant doctor fees, so they flock to the cheaper service.
    Knows-a-lot
    6th Jul 2018
    3:29pm
    User-pays is disastrous for those who cannot afford it. Unacceptable when it comes to one's health.
    TREBOR
    7th Jul 2018
    12:54am
    Just another rort....... suddenly when Greiner thought up the mind-balloon of 'user pays', the ordinary person found that the ways of using government services were multiplied...

    Theft by another name.
    Daz
    6th Jul 2018
    11:41am
    I don't quite get your argument Raphael. The US system is mostly privatised but it's one of the most expensive in the world costs around $10,000 pp. Sweden's system is fully funded & costs around $5000 per person whereas Australia is about $7,000. Raphael, do you honestly believe that the market 'purifying force' would allow this cash cow to stay at this price? Rorting? The max a doc could get even shunting a patient through every 10 mins is about $300. A psychiatrist gets $350 for a leisurely talk through. I think most GPs (at least the ones I visit) earn their money. If not, I ditch them & find someone willing to put in a bit more effort.
    Anonymous
    6th Jul 2018
    1:59pm
    What these GP’s are effectively saying is that in a free market , they would be charging higher fees than what they get from the government .

    Well let’s free it up , get rid of Medicare and GP’s compete for business

    I bet you in the long term it will cost the taxpayer less
    Consultation costs will come down
    control of the number of graduates each year by the medical mafia should also be put to an end
    It’s as bad as the unions if not worse
    TREBOR
    6th Jul 2018
    2:53pm
    Might work - might not - but pure 'free market' schemes have never yet worked, since there will always be a large element of exploitation of a captive audience - so regulation has always had a part to play in the 'free market competition' model.
    Knows-a-lot
    6th Jul 2018
    3:33pm
    Free market and laissez-faire economics inevitably leads to social disasters - as history shows. Look at America's terrible health system, and weep. Anybody who wants that here is an idiot. Watch Michael Moore's documentary "Sicko", and wake up!
    Anonymous
    6th Jul 2018
    3:59pm
    Michale Moore is a buffoon
    Long discredited for his fake documentaries
    TREBOR
    6th Jul 2018
    5:10pm
    Since doctors are Unionised to a T, they will function in a 'free market' as an oligarchy, and will dictate to their captive audience what the fees will be. Pay up or risk death..... if you can't afford it, well - just go away and die on a cold hillside in winter....

    Doubt free market will work.
    George
    6th Jul 2018
    8:22pm
    Free market is not a solution for such an important area - especially where one needs continuity of treatment to get appropriate care.
    The system here is very much BROKEN, and all Labor seems to do is pretend it is working, whereas the Libs want to bring it down.

    Let's see a few serious issues which need to be addressed to make it work (where are you - Labor???, anyone else???):
    a. Medical rebates must be set at a reasonable level for doctors to survive as well as allow them to bulk bill wherever possible.
    b. Doctor's union (AMA, etc) must be BANNED by the ACCC as they are distorting the setting of fees at a reasonable level.
    c. Doctor's fees must have MAXIMUM caps set by the Govt - say 25% more than the standard rebates.
    d. We must have adequate doctors - by training here as well as by getting overseas experienced doctors to avoid doctor shortage.
    e. Private insurance should be allowed to / made to cover the Gaps (other than the 15% of standard fee paid by the patient).
    We need a political party with GUTS to take on the above ideas and get the issues solved.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    10th Jul 2018
    5:25pm
    Expert economists have advised the US government and people, repeatedly, that the cost of health would more than halve if they adopted Australia's or the UK's system of socialized medicine. In the US, health care is a luxury only available to the well-off, yet the cost to the taxpayer is horrendous. Only an idiot would want to bring privatised medicine to Australia. But sadly the world is full of idiot - very selfish idiots!
    Rob
    6th Jul 2018
    11:45am
    A doctor worth his/her salt can make a very adequate living if they really try and are prepared to put in reasonable hours. Many are just too greedy &/or lazy. There are good doctors out there, but they are usually overwhelmed.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    11th Jul 2018
    8:48am
    My doctor makes lousy money, not because he's greedy or lazy but because he's dedicated. He refuses to stop bulk billing for fear people will be reluctant to seek help when they need it. He refuses to limit the time he spends in a consultation for fear he'll miss something important or send someone away feeling discontent and reluctant to come again. He makes house calls that are often never billed at all, merely out of concern for an elderly or sick or injured person he knows lives alone and might not have anyone to check on them regularly, or to check on a single parent who might struggle to get a child to a doctor at night due to having nobody to care for the other kids.

    And he spends a great deal of time doing voluntary work in hospices etc and for charities.

    Recently, he spent four days helping a patient fight an eviction order and take a nasty neighbour (whose unfair complaints triggered the order) to mediation to resolve a major dispute. And he provided accommodation, meals, and even new clothing while the person was temporarily homeless. No pay for that. It's not ''health'' care. It's just CARE that addresses stress and homelessness that would cause serious ill-health.

    He even invests time treating sick animals - often because their owner can't afford the vet fee, and he knows how the heartbreak resulting from loss of their pet would impact on a patient's health.

    I suspect he's a rare gem, but it's good to know some doctors still stay in the profession because of a ''calling'' rather than for the pay.
    floss
    6th Jul 2018
    11:54am
    We all have tightened our belts ,why not people that can afford it.We have lost a third of our income due to Mr.Hockey so what else is new.
    Rae
    6th Jul 2018
    12:59pm
    Yes a good argument floss. I too lost a promised $10 000 and concessions thanks to Hockey and the ALP and Greens that voted with the LNP.

    As far as I'm concerned everyone deserves to have their income cut now. Why not?
    We are a poorer Nation now in a lot of ways.
    If it's good enough for us it should be good enough for the doctors.
    Triss
    6th Jul 2018
    2:20pm
    I totally agree with you, Rae, and I’m spitting about the politicians’ salary increase.
    Knows-a-lot
    6th Jul 2018
    3:35pm
    Rae, the cost of living is outstripping wage-growth. Cutting income will only exacerbate that problem.
    George
    6th Jul 2018
    8:27pm
    Must get rid of the current politicians (Liberal, Labor & Greens) who have attacked pensioner / retiree incomes, while getting 2% pay rise + $7,000+ tax cuts for themselves! Do you think they actually care about doctors incomes or even Medicare?
    Rae
    7th Jul 2018
    8:33am
    The cost of living is outstripping income growth for us all. The only plus for retirees has been the boom in asset prices. Booms tend to end.

    I'm being entirely selfish here like the high income earners. If we could lower their salaries prices would drop and we would be better off. There are some earning far too much and we can no longer afford them.
    TREBOR
    7th Jul 2018
    9:41pm
    The thing about Fathead Hockey and Slimthought Tony, and the dreaded 'co-payment' is that the amount that goes into Medicare rebates remains unchanged, while the cost to the consumer has gone up, often to double.

    No wonder The Fat Rat fled to Washington where he can masquerade as our Ambassador while pulling hefty cash from out coffers.

    Anyway - even the 'medical education' people are whining.. GPs will lose $109,000 between 2015 and 2020... this is due to the freeze, so really only applies to doctors who bulk bill. Where I (and the ex) go it is all bulk billed, and the joint is full of patients with 5-6 doctors and 2-3 nurses doing ancillary work.... four receptionists.... and not a poor GP in sight.

    https://sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2016/06/07/medicare-rebate-freeze--counting-the-cost-to-doctors-and-patient.html
    Bellbird
    6th Jul 2018
    11:59am
    Daz is absolutely spot on. GPs have a very difficult task managing complex cases - often older people with multiple concurrent active problems. They are not adequately paid when a long consultation is required. As for Raphael, what does he want, a situation like the US where in the presence of an obscenely wealthy elite, poor folks die on the street because they can't afford any health care? The odious Trump took 20 million people off medicaid just to make the situation worse.
    Old Geezer
    6th Jul 2018
    12:02pm
    How much does it cost to see a Doctor these days?
    Hoohoo
    16th Jul 2018
    12:44pm
    I saw a GP for the first time in some years, to check my moles. It cost $71 for "Surgery consultation, Level B" for which I'll get $37.60 back on Medicare. The surgery is this week & will be bulk-billed. I'm not sure if I'll be bulk-billed for the pathology on this, along with a "punch" pathology on another mole, taken the same day as the surgery.

    6th Jul 2018
    12:09pm
    Gee what a surprise - doctors seeking more money! Would have to be the greediest, most voracious pack of so and so's (collectively) I have ever come across. Worse than car sales persons and real estate agents. Sure, they have studied hard, but how much is enough? To those conscientious doctors out there, my apologies, but regrettably in my experience, you are few and far between! Don't get me started on specialists!
    TREBOR
    6th Jul 2018
    1:07pm
    Amazing sense of Entitlement, our doctors, in many cases.
    Anonymous
    6th Jul 2018
    1:58pm
    I live in regional Australia. Many communities, in my experience, struggle to get a doctor to live in a town with a population of around 2,000. This is a disaster for those communities. Part of the problem is there are too many doctors clinging to their city practices - they are in a position to virtually determine their own income, by way of getting patients to return for 'monitoring' when not necessary. A possible solution to this imbalance of distribution of health professionals would be the adoption of the UK system of 'capitation'. This means that any doctor is restricted to the number of patients that can be registered with him, or her. The Brits have a number of around 900. This way they are better able to plan their medical training; and more importantly, all citizens are guaranteed access to medical services, no matter where they live. I am not sure if the referendum of 1948 would cut across any attempt to impose such a restriction on our medicos, but I would love to see a political party have the guts to stand up to the profession, which sucks on the public teat in a voracious manner.
    TREBOR
    6th Jul 2018
    2:34pm
    My doc down south used to fly his own plane one day a week to a small rural hamlet - the old doctor had finally retired and they had no service.

    Young doctors don't want to forsake the city lights for the quiet open spaces of the bush, where property values are not sky-high and they could live the life of Reilly if they so chose... some coastal regions are great... but they'd rather spend their time in the filthy, haze-clouded vice dens called 'cities'...
    Knows-a-lot
    6th Jul 2018
    3:37pm
    You can't moan about doctors' greed when you're a Right-winger - as you are, Big Al. Right-wing ideology is rooted in greed.
    Anonymous
    6th Jul 2018
    5:41pm
    K-A-L, that is an offensive post. Yes, my perspective is right of centre, but it has nothing to do with greed. I genuinely believe that if people are prepared to put up their own money, and have a go, they are entitled to a fair return - particularly if they employ others - its called risk/reward, something I doubt you would know much about. In relation to the medical profession, there is no risk. Their income is underwritten by the tax payer. Their training is paid (in the main) by the tax payer. They can hardly be called entrepreneurial (with the exception of somewhat like Eddlestone). Tell me this K-A-L - do you have money in the bank? Do you expect to be paid interest on it? By your definition therefore, that is greed - unearned income!
    TREBOR
    7th Jul 2018
    1:01am
    A 'fair go' is not a guaranteed income for life, any more than playing the stock market or the poker machines. Roll the dice, you take your chances... no guarantees UNLESS you are under a socialist government that will sustain you in your 'business venture'.

    Socialism is a a national good ONLY for business?

    How now when a worker asks for a 'fair go'? Same rules apply? MUST be guaranteed of an income over a working life for taking the chance of working for a d1ck-head corporation that might magically disappear and re-birth as 'someone else'?
    Florgan
    6th Jul 2018
    12:10pm
    I would like to know how much the 2% Medicare levy raises each year
    TREBOR
    6th Jul 2018
    2:47pm
    Umm - hard to find - but if the projected and now abandoned rise of 0.5% to 2.5% was going to produce $8Bn - it stands to reason that the 2% must bring in 4 x $8Bn = $32Bn.

    Like many such figures, these seem to be deeply hidden lest the public become too aware.......
    KB
    6th Jul 2018
    12:29pm
    People with chronic conditions need more time to ensure they are receiving adequate medical help. GPS should not rush patients out the door. The government should be able to unfreeze Medicare rebates. They can make savings elsewhere. I am lucky that I am bulk billed Can see a GP anytime .No long waits.
    TREBOR
    6th Jul 2018
    1:10pm
    As times many - there is plenty of fat to be trimmed from non-essentials such as QANGOs and out-sourcing of work already done or able to be done by the PS.

    All this nonsense is just handing money around to mates - not seeking real economic structure and savings.

    A proper commission of inquiry would show that, but that mob of sheep Big Tony put in to whitewash the already decided position and policy wouldn't touch that kind of thing with a barge pole, since it would cut their old mates out of some easy money.
    Noodles
    7th Jul 2018
    5:16pm
    If some of the "fat" was taken off the bodies of all the overweight many of the diseases they suffer from would be vastly improved and they would have a better quality of life and less drain on the medical system.
    TREBOR
    7th Jul 2018
    9:43pm
    Liposuction? I thought that was mainly done to suck away the excess fat in a wallet or handbag....
    Rosret
    6th Jul 2018
    12:53pm
    There is a practice of rushing patients through to get a higher turn over of patients. Those places only see me visit once.
    Should regional doctors be supplemented - absolutely.
    The most unfair thing about fee paying doctors was sitting in a waiting room full of health care oldies talking about getting a myriad of tests and procedures done for free. Meanwhile I was budgeting on exactly what the gap would be including all the other tests the doctor would inevitably order.
    The fee paying doctors also send you to fee paying pathologists and xray departments etc. The bulk bill doctors have a network of bulk bill ancillary services.
    It all just seems a little unfair.
    almost a grey hair
    6th Jul 2018
    1:09pm
    Yeh I agree with what you say, and this is why I dropped out of health insurance. When you have got insurance $400 - $500 per month for a couple you pay a lot more than someone who has no insurance . Unfortunately some oldies just expect everything for nothing including those that are well off. Everyone just wants to take it with them and be the richest person in the boneyard.
    TREBOR
    6th Jul 2018
    1:13pm
    You want the perks of private health insurance - you pay for it - but you should not expect subsidies as well...

    Tough titties.... the entire gamut of government spending needs to be reviewed properly long before the health needs of people should be ripped at.

    https://theconversation.com/the-multi-billion-dollar-subsidy-for-private-health-insurance-isnt-worth-it-76446
    MITZY
    6th Jul 2018
    1:46pm
    That doesn't happen for me. I'm in country NSW my doctor doesn't bulk bill - he puts his fee up $2 on 1st January each year. Currently I pay $66 per 15 minutes visit and the Medicare rebate is $37.05. Therefore each visit this year is costing me $28.95 out of pocket expenses.
    I was referred to a specialist recently for consultation for colonoscopy. Today I had to go to an anaesthetist for a consultation prior to having the colonoscopy next Tuesday. Two charges, one for the consultation ($66) and one for the ECG ($31.25) total cost $111 and my Medicare rebate was $64.20. This visit cost me $46.80 out of pocket expenses. Last year I had a colonoscopy which resulted in a malignant polyp and therefore had a series of colonoscopies (4 in 12 months) all bulk billed. The only time I get bulk billed with my GP is once a year when I have my annual check-up.

    Thirty kilometres away at another country town the majority of GPs there are bulk billing. I'm happy with my GP and don't want to change. I can't afford health insurance and when I am referred for these colonoscopies and put on the waiting list at the local hospital, these, of course are bulk billed. I can't afford health insurance with all the other expenses/bills with owning a house on a single age pension due to retiring at 55 (now 77) with $8,500 superannuation working in private enterprise all my life. My husband had 25 years with MS hence the early retirement to look after him in the last 12 years of his ill health. We had a reasonable amount of savings but lost half of them where they were invested after Sept. 11; GFC; & other downturns.
    I have a strict budget and don' t spend unwisely.
    I would like the Medicare rebate to return to its former glory of years gone by. Health is more important to everyone than anything else and people worse off than myself just can't afford to visit doctors/specialists etc. and are visiting emergency hospital centres. Not good in a very rich country. Priorities are all out of kilter. Too much is spent on things like fighter-planes/submarines etc. which never go into battle and end up being skuttled still looking as good as new when they are considered to be passed their use-by dates.
    Old Geezer
    6th Jul 2018
    3:25pm
    Last time I needed to see a GP I rang the practice and asked if I could see a doctor urgently. I was told I wouldn't be able to see one until tomorrow afternoon. So said I better just go to the hospital instead as I need to see a doctor ungently. Got a lift organised to hospital and they rang back just as I was leaving saying I cold have an appointment later that day. I said no thinks I have arranged to go to the hospital instead. I was immediately transferred by ambulance to another bigger hospital for treatment. After a week in hospital I had to see the GP for a follow up visit and when I got to the surgery the receptionist said to me so you were actually very sick when you first rang for an appointment. I don't think I'll bother with GPs any more if I get sick again.
    TREBOR
    6th Jul 2018
    12:59pm
    Let's be clear from the start here - we don't have 'socialised medicine' -if we did all the doctors would be on a state salary.

    Unfortunately the utter stupidity of the government under Reichsleiter Abbott and Gauleiter Hockey lead to the position where doctors felt under pressure to accept an ongoing reduced payment or simply refuse to accept bulk billing at all.

    Nobody can persuade me that that the dunderheads in Canberra did not know exactly what they were doing and what would be the outcome. They were going to have their dictated extra payment via the 'co-payment' they devised to chop away at Medicare, or the peasants would be paying for it through their noses.

    Forget the countless billions thrown away on private health rebates and such, as well as the cupidity of those in the medical profession and the savage division this causes between those who pay a little more and those who cannot in the 'health' system.

    An utter disgrace from end to end.

    Now I'll read the other comments.
    MD
    6th Jul 2018
    1:32pm
    Why, (see article picture) is the quack standing in a rural paddock ? Is he a medical practitioner or a country veterinarian ?

    It would seem as though the instant many people retire these days they qualify for mutt ownership, not to mention the rest of the dawg owning population. For a demographic that constantly laments inadequacy of the age pension - 'can't afford this, can't afford that' - yet so many of em get around, dirty dog in tow, sat up like jacky in car, carried like a baby, 'walked' with a gopher and these mutts inevitably contribute to the dirty filthy 'dog bombs' found at regular intervals along the footpaths, in parks and on roadsides.

    What has this tirade got to do with GP charges, maybe very little however, I'm constantly amazed by some people's priorities. How many of those that howled down the $15 co-payment for a quack consultation - 'can't afford it, an impost, blah, blah, blah - how many; own dogs, smoke, own cars, or any other of countless 'rights' and yet, presumably for their own well being, this same group are incapable of stumping up a lousy $15.

    How about those unwilling to co-contribute are instead sent along to the local vet: every town has numbers of them in plague proportion, that way both the pooch AND the pauper get the personalized attention they clamour. And please, no whining.
    Rae
    7th Jul 2018
    8:50am
    I pay a $46 gap and my doctor keeps me very healthy. It's a pity we can't pay for being well instead of being ill.

    Luckily the great surgeon in our country town spent a decade or so patching up in Afghanistan and Iraq. Brilliant he was with farm injuries.

    The co-contribution was a very sensible idea and would maybe have kept the virus sufferers at home where they belong taking panadol and getting over it.
    Lark Force
    7th Jul 2018
    10:17am
    Get Real MD, I never had a Vet turn up to my farm with White Coat and Tie. And you forgot the extending dog leads that you have to step over while the animal tries to water every tree and power pole.
    Not to mention the dogs that start barking the moment the owner leaves the unit. Off topic I know but as you started it...why not?

    While I'm here, Politicians Salaries and Retirement packages are so exorbitant I feel sure they could manage with a lot less. And ensuring that all foreign companies pay tax would go some way to fixing the health care problems.(Not to mention the Budget deficit)
    Rae
    7th Jul 2018
    12:35pm
    Yes Lark. If we are using competition to lower prices of wages then let's go the whole hog.

    Let's lower everyone's incomes. If it is such a great idea that we've dragged close to 5 million workers into the country. Some of them are even Politicians so that should mean there are plenty of people to be a Pollie so why pay so much for them.

    All this privatising should theoretically be lowering prices any day soon if it's at all as good as they say.

    I'm still waiting for prices to start falling around here. Anyday now I expect.
    KSS
    6th Jul 2018
    2:34pm
    What most of you are missing is that doctor's surgeries are small businesses. They employ people such as the receptionists, practise nurses, cleaners etc. The doctors saying they are struggling is not a cry for more money in their personal bank account. It's to pay the costs of running a business. They have overheads like rent/mortgage, utilities, medical consumables etc and this does not include their own home costs, just those of the surgery.
    And another thing, a GP is just as much a specialist as say the cardio specialist or any other. Being a GP is a choice of speciality that junior take. They deserve the same respect as any other medical professional and we, their customers should be far more appreciative. More would be if they had to pay something. It's true that you don't value what you don't pay for.

    Now before the likes of some of you no doubt chomping at the bit with vitriol, I actually believe that Citizens of a country should be provided with education and health services from cradle to grave as part of the advantage of being a citizen. All others should have to pay to access the same services whether permenant residents, hold work visas or any other temporary resident. Do that and it will stop the abuse of the system by overseas family members accessing Australian health services free when they visit family.
    TREBOR
    6th Jul 2018
    2:51pm
    Hmm - $50 a shot x 6 an hour x 7 hours = $2100 a day....... minimum ....

    Interesting view, KSS..... perhaps having to contribute would slow down the rush to immigrate here...

    From stories about, visitors to the US had better not get sick.... or bitten by a bear or whatever... they pay for their treatment...
    Robbo
    6th Jul 2018
    3:54pm
    TREBOR I think if bitten by a bear that is it, however a Canadian bloke told me if you blow a whistle that will scare the bear or if you lay flat they will not see you they have bad eyesight, however if you run they will catch you and do a little more than bite you.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    6th Jul 2018
    6:11pm
    Bears seldom bite. They more often claw or trample you to death. And don't even think of trying to outrun them. They are FAST. Yes, making a big noise scares them off. Laying flat is also smart as they tend not to see you if you lie flat and very still and quiet. However, rangers recommend you try to look big. Find long sticks and hold them high above your head or spread your arms really wide. If the bear thinks you are bigger then him, he'll usually run away.

    Best to just stay out of bear country altogether if possible, but if you can't, stick with a buddy or preferably a group and make lots of noise.

    Actually, you can get free emergency treatment in the US if you can't afford to pay, but you won't get ongoing treatment for chronic disease and the quality of treatment might not be high. I heard of one mother whose child was in ICU for months having over $1 million in bills in her kitchen drawer. She just keeps stashing them in there and laughs about them, since she obviously can't pay. I hope we never adopt the US system here, but it's not quite as bad as some like to believe.
    Knows-a-lot
    6th Jul 2018
    3:21pm
    Trust this incompetent Lieberal government to bugger up a perfectly good health system (Medicare), putting patients with complex health problems at risk.
    Robbo
    6th Jul 2018
    3:46pm
    If their got complex health problems let them pay there own way why should the taxpayer have to pay.
    They could have complex health problems from their lifestyle you know to much food (obese) or too much booze or smoking.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    6th Jul 2018
    6:02pm
    Or they could have complex health problems through losing in the birth lottery, work accident or unhealthy conditions, car accident in which some rich mongrel was in the wrong, environmental harm from living near polluting industry or power lines...

    Decent people acknowledge that the taxpayer SHOULD pay for a reasonable health service for ALL. That's how DECENT societies function.
    Rae
    7th Jul 2018
    9:00am
    Why? Because economies where everyone is scared to spend anything much because they are madly saving for education, health and old age are classed as third world and nobody bar the very few earning government sponsored funding do well.

    Then again Centennial Park would make a great Shanty Town.
    Cat
    6th Jul 2018
    4:35pm
    I have tried everything including trying to deal with a medical problem in several different appointments over time, booking a double appointment, paying the gap for a non-bulk billing doctor. I found that the rebate situation is not the problem - the problem is the doctors - they just don't want to deal with someone with a disability. They just want to get rid of you quickly and they act totally incompetent. It will back-fire on them because eventually no one will want to go to them at all.

    I booked a double appointment with a doctor to fill out a very simple straight-forward form about my disability. He had all of the reports on my file that told him everything about the medical condition. He didn't want to bother opening my file on the computer. No worry as I had the hard copies in my hand. He wouldn't take them from me so he could describe the condition accurately. Instead he asked me where is the problem? - acting like it is a terrible imposition on him.He failed to use any correct medical terminology or describe the limitations at all, put the wrong date of the injury on the form, didn't complete the form properly, and literally ushered me out the door in less than one 10 minute consultation even though I had booked two appointments in case he needed that time. What did he do with the other appointment that he failed to use? Still claim it from medicare after refusing to do his job properly in less than 1 consult? Because of his negligence and incompetence, the form was rejected because he failed to use medical terminology and failed to complete the form - and caused me to be locked out of access to personal care, disability job assistance etc, and left stuck down the drain hole.

    I made it easy for these slack doctors to claim their rebates how they want to claim them but they just have a bad attitude. On top of this other doctors have rejected me altogether for medical treatment. APRHA doesn't give a damn. The Qld Ombudsman doesn't give a damn. It's a totally corrupt and negligent system.
    Hoohoo
    16th Jul 2018
    1:07pm
    That is absolutely negligent treatment, Cat. I think you should report this whole episode to the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman:
    https://www.australia.gov.au/directories/australia/nhpopc

    What was the response from the Qld Health Ombudsman?
    Joy Anne
    6th Jul 2018
    5:28pm
    Well, if Politians can increase their salaries by over $500 a day they certainly can increase the Medicare Rebate by double. Pensioners cannot afford a Doctor if they have to pay, I can't otherwise no money for any food. This Liberal Govt is killing the pensioners, everytime lets go for Pensioners. Time to STOP and LETS GO FOR POLITIANS. instead.
    Eddy
    6th Jul 2018
    5:46pm
    I have no issue with my GP or indeed the specialists I have been referred to at times. They have all provided me with caring service without worrying about the cost in time. The government has frozen the Medicare rebate, that is the doctors main source of income, since, as reported, 2014. Note the politicians salaries have not been similarly frozen. Seems those in power do not like showing leadership and taking some of their own medicine (no pun intended) by 'freezing' their own salaries.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    6th Jul 2018
    6:16pm
    Odd how the government has unlimited wealth to give politicians huge pay rises and buy votes with tax cuts for its wealthy supporters, but is broke when it comes to paying for essential services and decent welfare for the needy.

    I have no sympathy for those specialists who charge many times the Medicare rebate and don't care whether or not patients can pay, but I do sympathize with GPs. The Medicare rebate really is an insult when you consider their operating costs, the training they undergo, and the value of their work.
    Old Geezer
    9th Jul 2018
    10:58am
    My GP bulked bill Medicare $300 for my last visit and I was there 15 minutes. How many others can GPs charge Medicare this much for?
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    10th Jul 2018
    5:27pm
    Medicare would NOT pay that, OG. There is a scheduled fee, and $300 for 15 minutes is WAY in excess of it.

    6th Jul 2018
    7:43pm
    do we still remember the oproar when the government suggested a $5.00 payment toward a doctors appointment, world war 3 had broken out, how did they dare, yet how you now all complain. I happily pay $ 70.00 to see my doctor, receive a refund of medicare the same day of $ 35.00 cost to me $ 35.00, being bulk-billed is just a con, every time you go you see another doctor you have to go over the same questions, time is up and another appointment is needed without being any the wiser, going on ylc figures it is impossible for doctors to run a doctor's surgery, just think of the cost of hiring a place, paying wages to the receptionist, the nurse, the time needed to consult, the time needed to arrange specialists, the time to visit the hospital etc. etc, yet you are jealous by thinking all doctors are millionaires and having it easy, play golf every second day if not every day yet I challenge any of you to be as concientious as most g.p's, take my word for it, the world would be a better place!
    MD
    6th Jul 2018
    8:08pm
    Possibly heemskerk99, quite possibly, but then the world would be a better place if a few compulsive bloggers were to fall under a bus don't you think - ourselves excluded of course.
    TREBOR
    7th Jul 2018
    1:11am
    Your sarcasm to heemie is noted, MD... take two jelly beans...

    I see the same doctor every time - I am bulk billed.... never a problem...... if you're happy to pay $35 extra, go for it.... just don't expect everyone else to find $35 out of their budget...

    When ah were a young'un - the local doctor (Italian by birth) ran a one-man surgery at the top of a flight of steps near the railway station... he would come out and ask 'Who's next?' - and the next in line would stand up and go in.

    No private healthcare... no nothing but decent honest people seeing the doc..... and taking their place in the queue as decent people do.....

    Bit 'ard, ey?
    Jim
    6th Jul 2018
    9:09pm
    Looking at the charges that GP's are already getting it would seem as though they are not on a bad wicket, $37:60 for a short visit and upto a $105:55 for a longer visit, I go to a bulk billing practise and a visit ranges between 5 mins to 15 mins if my wife and I go in together the consultation is not much different, so if you allow 4 people an hour that's approx $150 an hour, 8 hours a day $1200 a day 5 days a week $6000 a week, so take $3000 a week off for practise costs that leaves $3000 a week not a bad salary, I admit that I have to wait up to 1 hour to see my doctor of choice, I could see any doctor and the wait is usually shorter. The practise is a medical centre with quite a few doctors, with 3 receptionists the costs for running this type of practise would obviously be less than a much smaller practise.
    Jacka
    7th Jul 2018
    12:33am
    After reading a number of reviews and agreeing and disagreeing with some the one thing that stands out is Raphael you are an idiot. You should stop making posts you simply keep confirming that fact that you are an idiot sorry Jacka
    TREBOR
    7th Jul 2018
    1:14am
    Rafe is a firm believer that 'free market' will handle everything... never been shown yet to actually produce the goods.. look at power and gas supply...

    More efficient my arse....
    MD
    7th Jul 2018
    6:20pm
    How to rate the efficiency of ones' arse TREBOR might well be dependent on the marketing process one employs when touting in the market place. Never pegged you for a poofters apprentice but you never know these days: expect the unexpected eh?
    TREBOR
    7th Jul 2018
    9:48pm
    Oooh.. nasty.. nasty...... way off the subject, so call the Master at Arms. If heemie was right and I'm chopping posts, that one of yours would have to be high on the list...

    Instead I just laugh at it....
    Anonymous
    8th Jul 2018
    3:25am
    The free market works
    Unfortunately we have weak politicians who water down the system for short term gain and votes
    The only reason we can afford socialist policies is because we bastardize and water down the full positive impacts of free market capitalism
    Hence we have a hybrid that appeases the masses for short term gain at the expense of long term wealth for everyone
    TREBOR
    10th Jul 2018
    12:20am
    The free market worked best when the bosses had total control and workers were just subjects... sure it did.

    Lack of regulation lead to the 'company store' and pitiful wages and conditions, and a total lack of certainty in life - all of which had direct effects on the economy as a whole, principally that the economy simply didn't work because too many people didn't have money to spend.

    Economies are now nation-wide and international - they no longer cater to a specific group in society - say ladies who wear dresses etc supported by whale bone, who were a minority.. now an economy, to be viable, has to encompass the needs of all and not just those with the ability to buy luxury items.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    11th Jul 2018
    8:37am
    Of course the free market works for the well off and privileged. It never worked well for the battlers. But that's precisely how the rich and privileged want things, and clearly Raphael is among the rich and privileged. He will be aggressively supporting the current drive to impoverish the nation and restore a feudal structure.
    Noodles
    11th Jul 2018
    10:19am
    I recently had a day procedure done in a private hospital. My insurer picked up most of the tab but I am still out of pocket $940.
    Mutley
    7th Jul 2018
    8:06am
    Why are certain specialists' rebates capped ? having reached the threshold, I apparently am not entitled to the additional rebate. And specialist treatments are not on the same level as GPs'. For Age Pensioners the "gap" is immense.
    TREBOR
    7th Jul 2018
    9:49pm
    " 3. There's a limit to how much Medicare makes you pay

    The Greatest Permissible Gap (GPG) is a rule that keeps expensive specialist services within reach of people on modest incomes. It does this by capping the gap payment, which in 2016 is $79.50. The GPG means you will pay either $79.50 or 15% of the MBS fee, whichever is lower. It applies to services with an MBS fee over $530, and increases annually in line with CPI.

    For example, let's say you have to go in for a procedure that has an MBS fee of $1,000. After the 85% Medicare benefit, the charge to you would be $150. This is where the GPG kicks in, increasing the Medicare benefit another $70.50 so you don't pay any more than the $79.50 cap. So for a $1000 procedure, Medicare picks up about 92% of the tab. Think that's a good deal? Well… "

    https://www.choice.com.au/health-and-body/health-practitioners/doctors/articles/medicare-101
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    11th Jul 2018
    8:35am
    Interesting, Trebor. I wasn't aware of that provision, but I question how broadly it applies. Recently, my partner had specialist eye treatment. The specialist bill was $2250 and the Medicare rebate was $1066.70. The anaesthetist bill was $680 and the Medicare rebate was $225.30.

    Certainly the gap was a lot more than 15% in both cases.
    Kathleen
    8th Jul 2018
    9:55pm
    No the GP is not clock watching and yes they bulk bill but only pensioners and children. The specialist bulk bills as well even when he does surgeries.
    Their fees need to be unfrozen as their overheads are massive as already explained by KSS.
    There are many good doctors who are not greedy but need to stay viable.
    Ours are caring and thorough and are valued by us.
    Old Geezer
    9th Jul 2018
    10:56am
    I get bulked billed for GPS and specialists so no idea what they cost.
    Rach
    9th Jul 2018
    11:04pm
    I don't think doctors are that hard done by. The ATO released a list in April this year of the top ten average taxable salaries by profession. So this is their salary after they have paid the costs on their practice, insurances etc, etc. Coming in at number one was surgeons with an average taxable income of $393K, followed by anesthetists with $359K, in third place were internal medical specialists at $291K and coming in 6th place was other medical doctors with a salary of $199K. I'd be happy with any of these salaries!


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