Medicare review could cut services

Sussan Ley and the AMA are at loggerheads over the impending MBS review.

Medicare review could cut services

Health Minister Sussan Ley has denied that the impending Government review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) is an attack on doctors.

Earlier this week, Ms Ley announced a review of around 5700 MBS procedures, in an attempt to rid the bloated service of unnecessary and potentially unsafe practices. As a nation, we spend around $155 billion on health each year, however, a recent investigation into the benefits schedule showed that about $46 billion is being wasted on unnecessary services.

“This is a direct attack on the integrity of the medical profession. It is an approach that undermines the confidence that patients have in their doctors,” said AMA President Dr Brian Owler. “It’s clearly a cost-cutting exercise. It’s about removing services for patients.”

But the Health Minister has denied that the intention of the review is to attack doctors, and rejected the notion that the review is merely a cost-cutting measure – however, she did admit that there were savings to be found as a result of the review.

“I am not suggesting that the MBS is being disused, I am not suggesting that doctors are doing the wrong thing, I want to make that very clear,” she said. “It’s about building the best possible health system for the 21st century. Subjecting patients to x-rays – which they probably don’t need – and going through a lot of scans, some of these things don’t necessarily cause patients harm, but the visibility of the cost is important.

“So no-one sees the costs, except I do, because the Government pays for it,” she said.

Experts have identified around 150 unsafe, inappropriate or ineffective medical services that receive Medicare and health insurance rebates.

There is also a shared belief that the current system could potentially be putting patients at risk, as well as wasting precious health dollars that could be better spent in other areas of medicine.

Early intervention tonsillectomies for children, high-density bone scans for seniors and tests on lower back pain are some of the services that could be on the chopping block when the task force reports back later this year.

Ms Ley said the Government would consult with an expert task force consisting of medical professionals to help decide on the medical issues up for debate.

“The task force itself is comprised of clinicians because the last thing I ever want it to be is the Department of Health or politicians telling doctors what Medicare should look like,” Ms Ley said.

Read more at www.abc.net.au
Read more at The Guardian

Opinion: Review is still the right answer

It would seem, that once again, the Government has put the medical profession off side, but a review of Medicare benefits may still prove beneficial to all Australians.

Australians should welcome this Government review, so long as consumers are not denied access to health services. Cutting back the number of unnecessary services – especially those that could be harmful to patients – is not a bad thing. And if the by-product of that is savings to the consumer and for the budget, then this should surely be seen as a positive move. 

However, the problem is how to decide which treatments and diagnostic tests are necessary and which are not. That is the monumental job ahead of the expert task force assigned to this review.

The AMA may be accusing Sussan Ley of undermining the confidence of doctors, which is probably a fair call.

This issue, however, does put the spotlight on the procedures that doctors order for their patients. This spotlight may be uncomfortable for doctors, and it puts the onus on patients to question doctors’ orders. Patients should ask what their options are, as well as enquire about the risks of any procedures ordered. If doctors are not happy to assist their patients, then they are in the wrong profession.

A review of Medicare hasn’t taken place since the early 1980s. Ms Ley denies that finding savings is not the main aim of the review, but should it occur, it could allow the Government to reinvest in new technologies, new services and new procedures, which would benefit us all.

What do you think? Do you think it is time that Medicare undergoes a review? Are you worried that essential health services may be victim to such a review? Would you be happy if the result of this procedure meant savings for you? 





    COMMENTS

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    PlanB
    29th Sep 2015
    10:23am
    Well for a start I would not trust Sussan Ley as far as I could kick her, she is also a very nasty bit of work.

    Yes maybe in SOME cases Drs want to send patients for to many Xrays and CT scans and yes too many of them can expose one to too much Radiation, however MRI has NO radiation and how can you be sure of whats happening to you back / knees etc etc ans so know how to treat the problem? They are also suggesting that Colonoscopy are unnecessary too --WRONG, because IF you have an unchecked Polyp, it can turn to Cancer in time, I also noticed they were saying about Prostrate Cancer -- and seemed to be saying "wait and see what transpires!!! "

    I think we are being led down the USA path.

    The health system is in a mess now, we sure don't need it to get any worse!
    ray from Bondi
    29th Sep 2015
    10:51am
    here I agree wholeheartedly, sadly we can do nothing as our masters in the end do what they want, who wants to work another 5 years, nobody i know but did that make any difference, the same will happen here.
    Adrianus
    29th Sep 2015
    11:37am
    Oh no not down the USA path again!?
    If as you say PlanB "the health system is in a mess now" then Sussan Ley is doing the right thing at the right time is she not???
    LiveItUp
    29th Sep 2015
    1:54pm
    It is absolutely ridiculous to number of tests they put old people through today. For heavens sake just let them die in peace without all this intervention.
    Jen
    29th Sep 2015
    2:08pm
    That's exactly what it is, PlanB. Medicare does not compute with LNP ideology. This government wants us to be paying inflated, premiums that are increasing faster than the rate of inflation every year, to big business and, as happens in the US, the insurance company will decide how long we can be on pain killers after surgery, which surgeon/specialist we can go to, and which hospital we can be treated in. And when we can no longer afford the premiums, we will have to sell our houses to pay for lifesaving surgery/medication. It does seem that some services are over-used and possibly to our detriment, but surely this can be tightened up rather than cut. Remember this on polling day. (So many forget and revert to old habits.)
    Pollyanna
    29th Sep 2015
    2:25pm
    I for whatever reason. Do we just let them die because the government do not want to cover the cost.agree with you Plan B. The trouble is we can yell scream, do petitions, sleep on the Parliament steps but they will do what they like and we have no hope of changing it. Some people need to have scans regularly, do we do just let them die because the government do not wish to pay for another scan. PS I apologise for the mess in this email but my computer jumped back and I could not go back to fix it.
    Adrianus
    29th Sep 2015
    2:52pm
    That does not seem very positive Pollyanna.
    Trevine
    29th Sep 2015
    10:25am
    It is one of the governments tactics. I do not agree strongly
    Trevine
    29th Sep 2015
    10:28am
    The health system is not in a mess this government wants to take everything away from the people so that they can get their surplus in order
    marls
    29th Sep 2015
    10:00pm
    totally agree, but for politicians they will for ever increase your own age of entitlement. anything to do with the govt is a mess did 25yrs working for the govt and always finds ways to try and improve things, but every change was a shamble at millions down the drain
    Kato
    29th Sep 2015
    10:32am
    Suprised Susan ley didn't use dodgy Scott morrisons Line it takes ten taxpayers to pay for your colonoscopy? They are using blame the poor and sick for using your tax dollars it worked well for the nazis. How many taxpayers' does it take to pay one politicians wage and perks.
    FrankC
    29th Sep 2015
    12:01pm
    Especially after they have left their 'job'. That is where the mone3y is being wasted. Prior to retiring, I was on $72,350 p.a. Boy I would love to be having that now, plus free flights, and a car. no chauffeur though. Now I have the pension with an occasional back up from super. Still we have had an increase in pension of $5.10 each. A cup off coffee, and a litre of milk , Wow. Isn't that exciting.!!!
    Adrianus
    29th Sep 2015
    12:18pm
    Gee FrankC you should be a millionaire now. :) What happened? Did you not hear the story about the squirrel who stored away his nuts for the winter? :)
    LiveItUp
    29th Sep 2015
    1:56pm
    What did you do with the $72350 FrankC? 10% a year put away for retirement would have helped a lot now.
    Gra
    29th Sep 2015
    2:28pm
    FrankC paid his taxes like most of us did and tax takes a fair slug out of $72k. Just because he was on that figure when he retired doesn't mean he was on it for a prolonged period. Even salary sacrificing 10% wouldn't have made him a rich man. Wouldn't have left him a pauper but by no means rolling in money.
    Taking FrankC to task over his comment about retired politicians would seem to indicate you support the extravagance of paying someone who has had their snout in the government trough for only a few years a lifetime pension almost equal to the salary they were on. Can you imagine beginning a job at age 55, working 10 years and then retiring on a pension paid on the same scale? Which employer in the private sector would pay that? Not one, but we the bunny taxpayer pay out to the thieves sitting in parliament.
    marls
    29th Sep 2015
    10:06pm
    Gra.... spot on. $72k is a pittance trying to raise and family and pay of a house, who would be able to have any money left over for super some people don't live in the real world
    Golden Oldie
    29th Sep 2015
    10:34am
    I recently moved to a new area and new doctor. He ordered blood tests to see if I needed a change in medications for high blood pressure, and after discussion re my medical history, part of which was an operation to remove a hyperactive parathyroid gland, he ordered a blood test for bone density. Prior the operation I was in the early stages of osteoporises. This test was not covered by Medicare. Bone density scans are not covered by Medicare either if you are a woman, unless you have taken a steriod some time in the past. Surely, a test for this crippling condition, affecting many more women than men, would be more economic for the government, especially if it can delay the progression of this disease, than hospitalising the elderly for broken bones and other complications due to this disease.
    ray from Bondi
    29th Sep 2015
    10:52am
    better get-em while you can, the way we are going only the well off will be able to have any significant medical condition treated, not to talk about medications.
    LiveItUp
    29th Sep 2015
    11:54am
    Bone density tests are covered if ordered by a specialist.
    KSS
    29th Sep 2015
    1:00pm
    Correct Bonny and also they are free IF you have an unexplained fracture.
    ray from Bondi
    29th Sep 2015
    10:48am
    and I would like to point out just who is on these committee that return the findings, all goverments stack them to return whatever outcome they want, I would not trust any government committee, or panel. I believe that the libs want a system like america, we will have all the bad from there and non a the few good things, in the land of the free, if you are not in work or rich there you do not get any medical assistance, and what is free is very hard to access due to many many more needing it than can be supplied. we will end up with nothing as far s i am concerned if the libs are in too long.
    Jen
    29th Sep 2015
    2:20pm
    Agree Ray.
    TREBOR
    29th Sep 2015
    3:18pm
    Got it in one, Ray.
    marls
    29th Sep 2015
    10:09pm
    its all take take take from the taxpayer
    marls
    29th Sep 2015
    10:09pm
    its all take take take from the taxpayer
    Rosret
    29th Sep 2015
    11:00am
    I am not aware of what will or won't be cut. However I really can see ways to cut back on the number of dr visits. ie my hand is hurt and I need physio. A trip to the dr gets me entitlement to 5 physio trips. It comes with an xray and ultrasound that was needed. However I then need to go back to the dr for him to tell me I need to go to physio. Can't I have my report sent directly to me and I can decide if I need to go to the Dr again. ...and can't I be granted 5 physio visits no matter what... then I wouldn't need to go to dr in the first place and I probably wouldn't have had the xray and ultrasound. Better still why doesn't Medibank private included Physio as standard with optional extras.
    Lci
    29th Sep 2015
    11:06am
    As a health professional I frequently see tests being performed that may be unnecessary in certain instances which I feel needs to be looked into, However on saying this I feel the Govt needs to assess on an individual basis not just cut. Hypothetically a patient comes into hospital at end of life and only wants comfort care and I see doctors performing unlimited tests on these patients and is usually trainee MO's more education is required as to what is appropriate for these patients during this time.
    Sundays
    29th Sep 2015
    11:28am
    I agree. I wasn't sure but after seeing four corners last night, a review is needed. No unnecessary tests, but those who need should get them through Medicare. I've had tests which were invasive and was told, don't think there's anything wrong, but to be on the safe side. Will ask more questions in future.
    TREBOR
    29th Sep 2015
    3:20pm
    Got any to add to the list, Lci? We should assemble one early in case of (bite on soap) any rorting by this committee...
    PlanB
    29th Sep 2015
    11:17am
    I will be quite annoyed if these tests are cancelled especially when I am in the middle of a lot of late

    29th Sep 2015
    11:35am
    Anytime the government makes a review it is with an aim to make cutbacks in one area or another (except their own comfy nest) to make up for loss of revenue due to their own inept financial management. This inevitably leads to more disadvantages to the taxpayer one way or the other, either in reduced or cancelled services or another increase in taxes. We, dear friends, are in a lose-lose situation. In regards to Sussan Ley, I think she is a nasty piece of work, much from the same mold as Jackie Trad - both only interested in themselves and their further political advancement and all the trimmings that go along with being a greedy politician who always tries to get away with doing the least amount of work for the greatest amount of pay and kudos, and in that order. I'm fed up to tears with their worthless, self-seeking stunts!
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    1:10pm
    Fast Eddie you got that right
    Adrianus
    29th Sep 2015
    11:47am
    What can possibly be the problem with having a review?
    I am now suspicious of those who are against a review.
    Let's see what recommendations come from the review committee before we disagree with what we think they may uncover.
    PlanB
    29th Sep 2015
    11:51am
    Well if I had not had tests they might have treated me for something I did not have -- instead of some spinal fractures and Spinal Senosis
    Adrianus
    29th Sep 2015
    12:11pm
    A person's life can be full of contradictions cant it?
    So what you are saying PlanB is that you had a full review and found the source and nature of the problems before recommendations were discussed?
    Grumpy
    29th Sep 2015
    12:17pm
    Frank, there is nothing wrong with a review. The question is what is done with any savings resulting from the review.
    Given the depth of existing cuts to health expenditure and short changing of the States by this government, if the purpose of the review was genuinely to ensure best use of funds, then any savings would be ploughed back into other areas of health services. However we find that part of any savings will go back into consolidated revenue. This is nothing more than cost cutting by stealth, typical of this government's tricky, sly, dishonest, legalistic approach to government.
    This government will always try to blame the victims to justify their short changing victims. As a previous correspondent has stated this technique was tried and proven succesfully by Hitler's regime.
    PlanB
    29th Sep 2015
    12:42pm
    Frank I am saying that unless I had these tests I might have been given the wrong treatment, I am still trying different meds to try and relieve the pain, so far not a lot of success.

    I have learnt to ask MANY questions to Drs as there are so many of them that don't take enough care and can cause more trouble to the patient
    TREBOR
    29th Sep 2015
    3:21pm
    We'll give 'em a fair trial then, Frank - followed by a fair hanging.

    Once trust is gone.........
    Jen
    30th Sep 2015
    8:18am
    " if the purpose of the review was genuinely to ensure best use of funds, then any savings would be ploughed back into other areas of health services. However we find that part of any savings will go back into consolidated revenue. This is nothing more than cost cutting by stealth," Got it in one Grumpy. This is money people are paying into Medicare, ie. the health system, that will be taken out by this government to help fix their economic mismanagement. End result keeping Medicare from working properly. Stealing from Peter (us) to pay Paul (us.) Without a single idea about how to correct the slippery slope they've put us on with burgeoning debt and deficit.
    Adrianus
    30th Sep 2015
    8:25am
    Jen, what can I say? You decided to get rid of Howard with his experience and skill and install a novice with mental issues
    Pollyanna
    29th Sep 2015
    11:51am
    I must admit I am worried about the review. Everytime a new government is in power they play around with medicare and the health system and the public are always worse off.
    LiveItUp
    29th Sep 2015
    11:57am
    Medicare system needs a review badly as some doctors are really pushing the limits.
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    1:12pm
    Gee Bonny how many GPs do you see regular ??????as you seem to think their pushing the limits??? and in need of a review?????
    LiveItUp
    29th Sep 2015
    1:52pm
    Have you checked Medicare under MyGov account to see what is being billed for you under medicare? My GP doesn't charge me but bills medicare over $300 for every visit.
    TREBOR
    29th Sep 2015
    3:22pm
    $300?
    buby
    29th Sep 2015
    3:53pm
    wow 300 bucks.......OH rolls eyes.....singing....I wonder whats it like being a Millionaire!!!!
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    4:03pm
    Bonny why would I want to check our MY GOV a/c to see what is being build I am aware what my doctor charges are as we pay upfront and always out of pocket $35. after each visit................Medicare need to leave alone all essentials that retired pensioners do need............ and not what many healthy pensioners don't.
    Gra
    29th Sep 2015
    4:57pm
    All I can say Bonny is if your GP is billing Medicare $300 each visit you either spend all day with your doctor or he/she is a thieving rogue. I have just checked my Mygov account and even specialists don't charge that much for a visit.
    LiveItUp
    29th Sep 2015
    11:52am
    It's a great idea these scans just expose too much information and can effect a person's life. How would you feel if you had no pain and a scan said both your knees were in need of replacement? Psychologically some people might start to worry and develop knee pain. Or you have a cyst on your thyroid or some where else in your body that is of no significance?

    These scans give me too much information.
    happy
    29th Sep 2015
    12:37pm
    Agree. Too much information could make you sick. The power of our minds in regards to our health should be considered.
    buby
    29th Sep 2015
    3:55pm
    but if you had cysts on your thyroid or anywhere wouldn't you want to knows Bonny???they can be nasty things and cause you grieve!
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    4:05pm
    buby looks like our Bonny is in pretty good health and don't need much from medical service otherwise she would think twice about the retired pensioners with chronic health issues.
    Gra
    29th Sep 2015
    5:01pm
    Can you claim visits to a psychiatrist from Medicare? Don't know what Bonny is tripping on but no doctor sends someone for scans unless there is an underlying problem. Seems Bonny is happy for her GP to slug Medicare $300 per visit but would deny people with genuine problems the right to be reimbursed by Medicare for scans they NEED to have.
    Adrianus
    29th Sep 2015
    5:50pm
    Gra I don't know but it would not surprise me . Labor in government wanted visits to the bordello covered by medicare. Why don't you take tia-maria with you.
    KSS
    29th Sep 2015
    9:13pm
    Gra if you are referred by a GP then 5 visits to a psychiatrist ARE covered by medicare.
    Tom Tank
    29th Sep 2015
    11:53am
    While it is right to consider this Governments motives with suspicion a Review of Medicare is long overdue.
    It must be doe with an assurance that privatisation is not, and never will be, considered.
    Look at what Medibank Private has done since it was privatised. Increased price and reduced services plus the CEO getting paid outrageous amounts.
    If there is a problem with finance for Medicare then increase the levy. Simple really.
    maxchugg
    29th Sep 2015
    11:58am
    If I go to a doctor with a problem and he recommends a certain treatment, I am supposed to ask questions? How do I know what questions to ask?
    And If I disagree with what the doctor says, what then? Surely he is better informed than me, and if I bug him too much he has the option to tell me to find a doctor I trust. But finding another doctor can be a major problem when most of the doctors have their books full and do not accept new patients.
    And what about the doctor? If he fails to order a test, colonoscopy for example, and it later emerges that the colonoscopy done at the appropriate time would have prevented a fatal cancer from developing, can he be sued?
    What is needed is more doctors and dentists so that competition will force down the exorbitant charges that some of them raise. Like $230 for a consultation which takes 10 minutes.
    Despite the impressions given by the "4 Corners" program, GP's in the main are pillars in our society.
    Sundays
    29th Sep 2015
    12:43pm
    GPs are often unsung heroes who save lives. However, they don't always tell you the risks involved. This is what we should ask. We all know people who are worse off since treatment.
    PlanB
    29th Sep 2015
    12:46pm
    Yes always a good idea to question all med and reactions -- the Chemist is a great place to ask as mostly THEY know more than Drs
    KSS
    29th Sep 2015
    1:31pm
    And therein lies the issue maxchugg. All patients including you have the right to a second or third opinion and should exercise that right if and when you consider it necessary but especially if you disagree with the first Doctor's diagnoses or recommendations for treatment. Doctors are only Doctors they are not God and do not know everything about everything. Equally you/we the patient should not be agreeing to any treatment if we do not fully understand the process and risks involved. That is our responsibility to our health.

    Your second point is just as pertinent. How many unnecessary tests, prescriptions, scans, x-rays, referrals and the like are ordered simply out of fear of being sued as is the case in the USA? Australians have become more litigious with each passing year. No wonder Doctors feel pressured to over service patients even when they probably already know what the eventual diagnoses will be.

    Medicine is very different now to what it was 30 years ago both in terms of knowledge and treatment including expensive drugs, therapies and technology. With more than 5000 individual items on the medicare rebate list, it is quite simply ridiculous to imagine there are not outdated and super-ceded interventions among them. Without a review of each and every item we will all continue to pay for ineffective diagnostics, treatments and procedures.

    Your last point concerning the cost of a consultation that is not something that Medicare can (nor will) control. These charges are made by the GP (although it is the specialists who charge the $230+ rates) and for which a much smaller amount is covered by Mecdicare - your rebate - and this amount has been frozen for several years whilst the cost of the provision of service continues to increase like everything else. GPs and Specialists are running small businesses and have the expenses of a small business, i.e. staff wages, premises, insurance, utilities, continuing education, compliance, registrations, tax, workers comp, superannuation for themselves and their staff, cleaning, cost of consumables e.g. needles and syringes, drugs, cotton balls, alcohol wipes, hand wash, single use medical equipment, paper for printers, prescription pads, medical software etc etc etc etc. How much do you think this all costs? I do not disagree that some certainly know how to charge like wounded bulls but take that fight to those that deserve it and that is not this (or any) Government.
    maxchugg
    1st Oct 2015
    7:28pm
    KSS. GP's have the same expenses at specialists. The difference in fees is unreasonable in many cases. However, some specialists provide more than one consultation for their original fee.
    Governments are more than willing to exercise control over virtually every other aspect of our society, so why can't they control greedy specialists?
    RogerA
    29th Sep 2015
    12:12pm
    Wow! Thanks all for interesting comments, in which (surprise, surprise) mistrust of the Australian Government shows through as a strong thread. Yes, I share that mistrust, and I fear that a sensible review will become derailed because the Government has eroded our trust in it. We need to spend more on health, in the broadest sense, not less. Reviews should be designed to enable savings to be directed strongly towards other priorities in health (there are many), rather than pandering to S. Morrison's perception that the budget problem is wholly and solely a "spending problem".
    Grumpy
    29th Sep 2015
    12:20pm
    Amen!
    Toogoom
    29th Sep 2015
    12:19pm
    A review is well past its time. The simple fact is that we as a nation cannot afford to over-spend on medial services. I am on top tier private health cover but living in regional Australia am not able to avail myself easily or economically to many services accessible to city dwellers. This review may discover innovative and affordable ways of spreading the joy so that all Australians, no matter where they live, can utilise essential medical support.
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    1:18pm
    Toogoom well well well......we are all entitle to our opinions.....but in saying that I don't agree with you...........good luck for being able to be in the top cover for starters.......I just wonder if you suffer with any chronic health issues? as only than your maybe understanding of others with Chronic issues and rely on Medicare
    Gra
    29th Sep 2015
    5:34pm
    I'm with you tia-maria, not everyone can afford top health cover if they aren't working. As someone who suffers from multiple health issues and no longer working, paying for some of the procedures required would be a real drain on our savings.
    KSS
    29th Sep 2015
    9:23pm
    Just to be clear, with the exception of a trial by Medibank Private with a few (6) selected GPs in southeast QLD, private health insurance does not pay for visits to GPs or any other service they may order such as blood tests, x-rays, referrals to Specialists and the like. In fact the law expressly excludes these things from private health coverage..... for now.
    marls
    29th Sep 2015
    10:22pm
    one thing I learnt years ago anyone who is a victim of crime and needing hospitalisation and you tell them you are in private cover kiss your savings goodbye you will be up for a fortune, and the cost is not covered by victims compensation. worked in the system
    koala
    29th Sep 2015
    12:19pm
    The government is looking in the wrong direction if it wants to cut medicare cost.
    The absolutely exhorbitant cost of a minor operation and a nights stay cannot be
    justified .
    Dental ,a root canal $2000. out of pocket the opration above over a$1000. out of pocket,and
    $5000+goes to medibank each year. Koala
    Golden Oldie
    29th Sep 2015
    5:09pm
    Dental, basic or otherwise, is not covered by Medicare. You need private health cover for this.
    happy
    29th Sep 2015
    12:25pm
    Needed to see my eye specialist. Had to get a referral from my gp. Cost to me some dollars cost to medicare some dollars. Did I need a gp visit? Probably not. Could have gone to optician no cost to me but still a cost to medicare. Review needed.
    happy
    29th Sep 2015
    12:27pm
    I know I need to see the specialist, past experience tells me there is a problem.
    Adrianus
    29th Sep 2015
    12:39pm
    happy that is a very good point!
    I agree it is a problem and the Labor party solution was to go into competition with GPs by introducing GP super clinics. Problem was that some GPs closed down or sold out anticipating Rudd's Super Clinics to be as plentiful as 7/11 stores. Another case of promising the world and achieving very little.
    Much better to have a review and strengthen the weaknesses/inefficiencies.
    tisme
    29th Sep 2015
    12:31pm
    its not gp's that are being attacked its pensioners etc those with no voice and no means of defence
    happy
    29th Sep 2015
    12:39pm
    Rubbish. No body is being attacked. Costs have blown out. Has to stop somewhere.
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    1:08pm
    happy are you being paid by a Liberal Politicians as your comment is rubbish
    KSS
    29th Sep 2015
    1:35pm
    tia-maria, new convert to the Mike school of comment!
    Adrianus
    29th Sep 2015
    3:20pm
    tisme, it's a review of the health system. Nobody is going to flog you and lock you up.
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    4:08pm
    tisme, don't worry about Frank he has a touch of shits and in need of a colonoscopy
    and needs a good clean out
    PlanB
    29th Sep 2015
    12:44pm
    Maybe spend less on war fare -- and killing and more on keeping people well and pain free
    Kato
    29th Sep 2015
    12:47pm
    No problem with any reviews that cut costs when are they having one on government expenditure and waste.
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    1:06pm
    Ms Ley,
    your a dam disgrace to say the least.............. cutting back on vital Medicare urgent medical needs.............Ms Ley when did you became a medical Professional????? that's right your not????.......... The things your attacking is vital to many Australians health..........and you seem to keep attacking retired pensioners who needs these treatments ..... shame on all you bloody politicians.....
    Colonoscopy are extreme important to detect early stages of Bowel Cancer.......as a matter of fact............. Ms Ley just maybe.............YOU NEED A COLONOSCOPY......... have one BIG clean out............WITH SOME OF THE BUILT UP CRAP YOUR GOING ON WITH RIGHT NOW..........as your full of it................
    KSS
    29th Sep 2015
    1:42pm
    tia-maria, please get a grip. No-one is targeting anyone - yet. Why not reserve your venom until we know which, if any, procedures may be removed from the medicare rebate list. And in case you missed it, which your outburst would seem to indicate, Ms Ley is NOT making these decisions. She is convening a group of medical clinicians to review the list of well over 5000 current items that have not been reviewed for over 30 years. I cannot see why you would object to that, given I don't recall you ever declaring your own medical degree. Please save your invective, energy (and rudeness) for the appropriate time. You may need it then.
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    1:53pm
    KSS......A typical response by you...........I believe Ms Ley trying to further her career regardless who will be hurt.......... And yes their targeting many things pensioners need to say the least which is typical by our Politicians these days...........especially the Liberals and their beloved supporters who supports this........ps KSS I am also entitle to my opinions and having a say......... you need to read your own comments again ???full of it.
    Pollyanna
    29th Sep 2015
    2:42pm
    To tia-maria, I agree with your comments and KSS needs to look at the situation a little deeper
    PlanB
    29th Sep 2015
    2:51pm
    I also agree with you Tia-maria, having watched Sussan Ley over some in Question time etc. she has a very nasty streak and likes to push her weight around.

    I think Turnbull needs to pick his cabinet better and gain a few that have a heart
    Adrianus
    29th Sep 2015
    3:10pm
    tia-maria, KSS is right. You need to put those six guns back in their holsters an keep yer powder dry there pardner.
    The time for the shootout will be when we hear the recommendations.
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    3:57pm
    Well Well Well Frank I been waiting for you to come firing with your rifle.........as that is the only way........... KSS and you......... can be nasty together.........Remember guys everyone is entitle to their opinions and just you two loyal Liberal supporters.
    KSS
    29th Sep 2015
    4:49pm
    tia-maria, please take a breath and re-read my comment to your original abuse of Ms Ley. I support your right to state an opinion as I do for everyone whether I happen to agree with their message or not.

    What I strongly object to is your unbridled rudeness and crass description of what you think Ms Ley needs. It is uncalled for, unwarranted and unbecoming to you.
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    5:16pm
    KSS...............Ms Ley is only looking to advance her career.....regardless what you think??? some times every one could do with a clean out of rubbish building up in one system............that also goes for the bull crap our politicians go on with cheers
    Adrianus
    29th Sep 2015
    5:22pm
    tia-maria I can see you are trying to hold back and I think you would be very entertaining given the chance. But do you really think Sussan Ley deserves that sort of comment?
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    6:40pm
    Frank I don't know why I even bother answering your comment, you tell me How many of our politicians are genuine????????? they are so under handed tell us so many lies and their in my opinion cant be trusted..........also many ripping off the taxpayers of Australia
    Adrianus
    30th Sep 2015
    8:02am
    tia it all depends on which of the following statements you believe most applies to our politicians.
    "Bad people sometimes do good things."
    or
    "Good people sometimes do bad things."
    May I suggest you have a break from anti government media such as Fairfax and ABC. You may not get that advice from a doctor.
    LiveItUp
    29th Sep 2015
    1:59pm
    There are some crazy rules too. If you have a small brain aneurysm that has to be monitored for size annually you have to pay a neurologist s small fortune just so you can have a free MRI. Brain aneurysms are also considered elective surgery too even though they could kill you at anytime.
    talofa
    29th Sep 2015
    2:23pm
    I m a 75yld exnurse & I do believe there are lots of services to be cut or at least for informed people ....there is also lots of info on the internet f.e. the diabetic forced sessions with dietitians etc...talofa
    Anonymous
    29th Sep 2015
    2:40pm
    Well in your occupation you should know more than any of us on this topic so I am happy to agree with a person in the mix rather than half this lot who are just looking for everything for nothing as usual
    Jen
    29th Sep 2015
    2:29pm
    It costs millions of our hard earned taxes to bomb a town/building in Syria and who knows who they're killing. Yet our government needs to be bludgeoned into taking the resultant refugees.

    It costs millions of our hard earned taxes to put our army into Iraq. It costs billions to build how many submarines, is it? More billions for bomber aircraft to be purchased.

    Medicare needs adjusting but not cutting. And definitely not privatising. The gap is growing and causing difficulties for some pensioners. Yet we can find billions for war. Here's a novel idea, how about we stop warmongering? Then we'll have enough money to keep Medicare as a shining example of a progressive country, and we'll be able to take our share of refugees as well.
    buby
    29th Sep 2015
    4:10pm
    BUT BUT Jen. We can't keep UP with the US THEN can we !!!!
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    4:14pm
    Jen yes I here you and also giving to migrants, they seem to have plenty of money for all that...........and.......WHEN it comes to Australian needing better hospitals more nurses and Doctors and now wanting wanting to attack our Medicare system and trying to take away major needs from Medicare is a bloody disgrace
    Blossom
    29th Sep 2015
    2:30pm
    Who us the i***t who fed her such stupid information. I know people who have had knee replacements who have gone back to work afterwards who otherwise may be in wheelchairs by now - one has had both knees done. Colonoscopies have saved many lives including those of children wo have variuous autoimmune diseases including Coelic Disease which be fatal if not diagnosed and treated. Blood tests can give false reports. It can be genetic.
    MRI Scans can show brain damage and other neurological diseases, ear problems not visible by normal examination methods. Does the Govt. want to spend funds on sickness benefits, unemployment benefits, carers' allowances, carers' pensions etc. Some scans are used to find the exact location of the problem rather than making much lager incisions and people suffering for much longer and people being paid benefits for longer. A lot get problems such as that before they retire, especially those who work for longer as the retirement age is extended.
    Blossom
    29th Sep 2015
    2:34pm
    I had an Xray because I kept getting a painful salivary gland over a period of a few months. I had a stone in the bottom of the gland which was removed by surgery and I went back to work a few days later. Mind you it affected my speech until the swelling went down. I could not have gone back as soon had I been working as a receptionist, switchboard operatior or where clear speech was necessary.
    Paddles
    29th Sep 2015
    3:14pm
    I've read just a few of the posts on this thread and, predictably, they are mainly from the bitter, ill-informed whingers who have difficulty in separating a serious topic from their toxic hatred of individuals (see first out of the box by PlanB).

    My personal take on the matter is that a thorough overhaul of MBS is long overdue and only good can flow from it. As a person who has undergone a great many procedures, I would like to see them direct particular attention to one of the reasons for Doctors ordering so many tests, scans, pathology etc.

    Based on several discussions with my own GP, most medicos today practise what he calls "defensive medicine". Since "bad luck" was abolished, it seems that everyone now looks for someone to blame and, hopefully, sue. Doctors pay vast sums for malpractice insurance but they are still open to civil litigation and it seems that most damage claims are settled in favour of the complainant.

    On numerous occasions I have been discharged from hospital with a whole clutch of test results only to have my GP order the same tests a day or two later. When challenged on this, they mumble that they need to check further.

    Now here's a radical idea for you. Could the estimated 46 billion dollars saved by eliminating unnecessary procedures be used to set up an Australia wide data base to which all Doctors were to add patient histories, treatments and test results? Lest the privacy warriors protest at a "big brother" system, I would point out that one's tax records are as readily available in Broome as they are in Hobart. I believe that other ills of the system,(e.g. Doctor shopping for drug prescriptions) could be eliminated by a centralised record system
    Golden Oldie
    29th Sep 2015
    5:20pm
    Isn't ehealth centralised. Who puts in the information?
    Jen
    29th Sep 2015
    6:24pm
    "Could the estimated 46 billion dollars saved by eliminating unnecessary procedures be used to set up an Australia wide data base to which all Doctors were to add patient histories, treatments and test results?" No, only a bit of the potential savings is going back to health, the rest is going to help balance the budget, using money we're paying into Medicare. Go figure. I guess this means Medicare will never be sustainable then, because they'll be taking our money out of it to fix their bad management.
    Sceptic
    29th Sep 2015
    7:12pm
    Clearly Jen you have no idea of the relativity between the Medicare levy and the health costs. For your information, the Medicare levy is way short of the costs.
    Adrianus
    29th Sep 2015
    7:37pm
    Wasn't it the Gillard government which ripped out $600m from Medicare?
    tia-maria
    30th Sep 2015
    1:17pm
    Frank give it a break................ your so judgemental mate.................. your commenst are purely one side your a Liberal voter
    Adrianus
    30th Sep 2015
    1:25pm
    I did not vote but I think I will at the next election. Never really warmed to the idea of compulsory voting. You get "judgemental" from the statement of a fact? You must be so skewed to the left you always travel anticlockwise.
    Jen
    30th Sep 2015
    2:23pm
    Sceptic, that being the case, taking any savings out of Medicare for general revenue, is not a good plan, is it?
    tia-maria
    30th Sep 2015
    5:46pm
    FRANK..........You did not vote???? and yet you have so much to say......woo at least I do vote and I feel entitle to have my opinions heard than you....... cheers
    TREBOR
    29th Sep 2015
    3:15pm
    Very general discussion along the lines of 'bad etc procedures' and 'health system in a mess. It's in a mess because there has been a total stuff-up of Medicare and the rebate and the tax contribution and of subsidies to private funds, and because of the over-reliance on costly administration in hospitals etc. General manager - sorry 'CEO' of a hospital can pul as much as a politician.. all this pretence that relatively simple functionary positions are all-important is a nonsense and always has been.

    I can't see my doctors rushing to do unnecessary tests - I've had heart surgery, stiff and painful shoulders (one done with a simple X-ray then a simple surgical procedure), and is someone going to suggest that, having been diagnosed with minimal bowel cancer, my regular checks and yearly scans for three years are worthless?

    Can't see MIZ Ley knocking back any such for herself....

    I think we need a lot more information before ANYONE - including the usual suspect band of bludgers is assembled at huge cost to work out what diktat we will be receiving.

    Another nice little earner for old mates, cronies and fellow losers who could not make it in the real world away from the masses of public money......
    Pass the Ductape
    29th Sep 2015
    3:59pm
    The medical profession over the years has developed a nice little business thankyou very much!
    Just like those are chemists - they seem to have a licence to make money.
    Never, ever, do you see a poor doctor and I would go so far as to state that there isn't one qualified doctor who would not be a millionaire - with some being a millionaire a lot more than once.
    It's about time they had their little expensive wings clipped.
    marls
    29th Sep 2015
    10:32pm
    yes I agree I have never seen a poor doctor, I know one doctor who works 3days a week and currently purchasing her 6th home in Sydney. mostly all paid for.
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    4:18pm
    My opinion is its about time our POLITICIANS have a review on their pensions and all their perks after office......and should all be stop immediately ..........and live on the same as any one retired from pensioner.........and the say is not up politicians but the voters of Australia
    Couldabeen
    29th Sep 2015
    4:41pm
    Having read the majority of the comments here, I note that a lot of commentators don't appear to have read the intention of the review.
    There is no intention to deny anyone any treatment that is clinically required and clinically justified.
    Speaking from personal experience, up to 50% of attendances at healthcare facilities are not clinically necessary. That is at both the GP and Specialist level. But when it is free, people will turn up and referrals will be made.
    The reason that, as one commentator mentioned, it is difficult to get a Specialists appointment is because people who do not need to be there, are there.
    Years ago I recall a doctor bemoaning the removal of vitamin tablets from the PBS. In his opinion, they were one the most cost effective placebos available. With virtually no adverse side effects.
    Truly, in real terms, those who need clinical care will still have access to what is appropriate.
    River Queen
    29th Sep 2015
    4:49pm
    After 25 years working in medical practices I think a review of Medicare is very warranted. In my opinion I feel I have seen many blatant rip offs by doctors using item nos. that increase their billing but have no benefit for the patient.
    tia-maria
    29th Sep 2015
    5:19pm
    River Queen, yes 25 years you may had see so much going on but you done nothing about it............BUT the review will be going to hurt so many retired pensioners who have chronic medical issues.......such as Bowel Cancer were colonoscopy are major issue and one to keep and many more procedure to be left alone

    29th Sep 2015
    7:44pm
    great to hear of the cronies of labor mick, the likes of tia-maria, jen, plan b, his brainwashing has taking an effect on them, if you oppose anything they put up you are either paid by the liberals, be a troll, don't care about anybody else, are a millionaire, etc, it never entered their brain, or rather lack of brain, that this is a review which may come up with a result with will result in a better way of spending our taxes. I also like to point out that labor mick has not responded to this article in the first 97 comments, wait for to-morrow and count how many of his answers comes within those 97 comments!!!!!!!
    carmencita
    29th Sep 2015
    7:57pm
    She was a minister under Abbott just a change from Hockey presentation of budget cuts. Capitalising on a change of presenter to budget cuts from Hockey to a female minister did not make a difference. It is still budget cuts to services for the general population. They never look at their own spending of taxpayers' money for their personal advantage. How much savings could be made if all privileges of MPs to include privileges extended to their families are scrutinised.
    Chrissy
    30th Sep 2015
    2:09am
    Once again bean counters want to interfere with medical opinion. Australia does NOT want to go down the US path of 'managed' care. Just because many procedures do not come up with results that indicate there should be more medical intervention - there will always be some that have had their life saved by that procedure such as colonoscopies. I do not want to see people denied something that may save their life - this is the detection of cancer I'm talking about. 'Bean counters' have no right to apply statistics to medical procedures. As for early tonsillectomies may be it just needs doctors to be more reluctant to allow the procedure but what about the children who end up missing so much because they are continually ill. This is not a decision to be made by a 'bean counter', it is for an INDIVIDUAL MEDICAL ASSESSMENT NOT A GOVERNMENT BEAN COUNTER. NO TO THE US MANAGED HEALTH CARE SYSTEM!
    Darts44
    30th Sep 2015
    6:54am
    Doctors don't think anymore, they don't ask questions, they just send you for tests and more tests.
    migmag
    30th Sep 2015
    11:39am
    So you know many, many doctor's do you? I don't think you can be a doctor without thinking or they wouldn't have qualified as one. Doctor's don't have X-ray vision so they can't know what is going on in your body for sure, the tests help either confirm or not what they MIGHT think/believe is the problem.

    Don't most people have to pay a part of each test? why would they do this if they didn't think the test was necessary?

    30th Sep 2015
    8:00am
    To be honest have always felt any medical testing I've agreed to has been relevant and necessary and for peace of mind pleased such testing has been undertaken.....

    But do know people whose medical testing and procedures do seem excessive with test after test being ordered almost as a process of disease elimination in an attempt to locate a diagnosis or cause of illness, but to no avail....

    However guess it pays to be assertive in our interactions with medicos, rather than being railroaded into anything, insisting instead on our rights to be completely and clearly informed in relation to what may or may not be done to our bodies, which in turn may impact either positively or negatively on our wellness and health...
    Adrianus
    30th Sep 2015
    8:05am
    I must be the odd one out? My docs are full of questions, explanations, latest medical opinion. They tell me when they are unsure about my questions and give me a couple of possible answers. They are not without humour. They collaborate with each other. They write long and detailed letters to each other. I guess I am lucky to find such great doctors and nurses.
    PlanB
    30th Sep 2015
    8:56am
    Yes I am always asking questions about any tests Drs want to send me for too and there have been a few I have refused.

    Frank you are a lucky one to have such good Drs. I have not a bad one now after many years of a real "couldn't care less bloke" but as I only needed the odd script then it was OK but since I have needed more care it became a real problem and he almost killed me with his slack attitude.
    seadog
    30th Sep 2015
    4:53pm
    Why is that as soon as the government want to do a review and possibly change the system for the better that they are straight away accused of cost cutting to hurt everybody. My doctors for example no longer write out a prescription without you having to make an appointment and you are told that you cannot discuss any problem with them as your appointment is for a prescription only!!. The cost is a full consultation. Is this not rorting the system? and should be stopped.

    30th Sep 2015
    5:21pm
    Having been in the British Army when cold war on and preparing for nuclear war I am amazed that so many have no idea that X Rays and scans build up the radiation from them in your body. Called rads. No way to rid the body of those accumulated during your life its all over the world but livable with until we have more than we should of these abnormal exposures in our body. So do be careful and not just go all the time the GP says, same with blood tests. Mine never asks when he gives me these to do and I dont. If so important surely would ask where are results and when I have had actually been as thought it necessary or years passed etc and blood done etc or X Ray - go and he says why you here? I mean surely he notes it down on your history and so should know ! No excuses.
    Dentists too these days do far too many. Be careful. And I never have or will use Microwaves. Or be in their area of exposure. Be careful of those too. No wonder so much cancer around these days. All comes from radiation. Also living under or too close to overhead high voltage power lines or a transformer same rads. And no clock radio with green radioactive near your head - put across the room.
    Jen
    30th Sep 2015
    7:58pm
    It's the ct scans you have to be wary of. I read one spinal ct for example, is equivalent to something like 50 years of natural exposure to radiation (which is everywhere.) These days ordinary xrays use very minimal amounts or radiation and you have to have a large number before starting to be concerned. MRIs are radiation free. So just watch the # of cts you have and worry about them.
    PlanB
    1st Oct 2015
    8:10am
    YEs some Drs are too over the top with wanting to do X-rays etc.

    Here is some info on what scan give what radiation

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/01/the-surprising-dangers-of-ct-sans-and-x-rays/index.htm

    30th Sep 2015
    8:14pm
    You really have to TRUST the INTENT of the changes and as we have seen TWO previous attempts by this same government to make the average Australian pay MORE for the same services, there is very little that leads me to believe that any changes will be in the interests of the AVERAGE Australian and their health issues.

    Now they are saying we don't NEED to undertake certain tests... hence, this means that we will have to bear the FULL COST on our own.

    I DO have issues with some of these services providers ... example (real/actual) ... MRI cost without Govt rebate was quoted as $340 but when it was decided that I could get a Govt rebate, this quote went up to $520 but that I would only pay $240 because a rebate to me of $280 was available. Hence, the service providers made an extra $180 and I saved $100 BUT the government had to pay $280 from coffers. So, yes I am aware of these issues BUT they will not stop with REMOVING SERVICES.

    I simply do NOT TRUST this government to do anything for the average Australian. The Liberal Party stands for the big end of town and the big end of town want PRIVATE HEALTH because it is BIG MONEY for them. If they could SMASH Medicare tomorrow, they would!

    So, NO.......I ..... do not TRUST...so NOT TRUST.... DO NOT TRUST this GOVERNMENT!!
    Jen
    1st Oct 2015
    7:00am
    Totally agree Mussitate and anybody who believes otherwise is fooling themselves and trying to fool others. This is a direct attack on Medicare and they aim to win (on behalf of the private insurance companies and service providers.) I'm not saying no changes should be made, but they should be looking to improve Medicare, not begin to dismantle it. Because you can be damn sure this is just the beginning until we no longer have Medicare. Against the wishes of the people, they're winning for Adani and Shenhua and are about to sign the TPP on behalf of global corporations. This is their ideology and our money is paying for it.
    PlanB
    1st Oct 2015
    8:03am
    I agree I do not trust this Government and they are trying to get us to the health care of the USA --VERY BAD IDEA

    We have to stand up and yell long and loud
    Banjo
    1st Oct 2015
    5:51pm
    Some tests doctors send patients for are not always necessary
    Some can do you more harm than good. As usual it's the
    dollars they're after.
    PlanB
    2nd Oct 2015
    6:26am
    Also some medication the Drs want to put you on are quite dangerous too and they refuse to accept the fact, Fosamax and Prolia just 2 of them
    Not Senile Yet!
    2nd Oct 2015
    6:46pm
    Medicare has not undergone a review since 1980 for a dam good reason!!!
    No one....not the Doctors nor the Patients....TRUST any Government Official or Body for that matter....simply because their Motives are HIGHLY questionable!!!!!
    If and I state If!!!!......it should need a review or update......it definitely should not be by a Government appointed Board or Group!
    They will just rubber stamp what the Government wants in way of cost savings and that will be that!
    No No NO!!!
    Let an Independent Ombudsman, A high Ranking Judge, A high Ranking Medical Doctor, a Nurse, a Medicare CEO and 6 out of the hat Voters....review it as Total Indepentants that could suggest changes.......not actual implement them!!!!!!
    As for Our Current Politicians......well they cannot even review their own out of pocket expenses... let alone Medicare?????
    Don't let any of them near it!!!!
    Not Senile Yet!
    2nd Oct 2015
    6:58pm
    Both our Leading Parties are going overseas looking for answers about everything....why???
    Don't they have SKYPE in Parliament or Computers to research topics....just an excuse if you ask me to jet about like pompuss arses!
    As for the Libs....they want to turn us into the USA by copying all their ideas of Free Enterprise.....which really means everything becomes private and the cost goes through the roof!!!!
    Bugger Off you bunch of Right Wing Capitalist Sheep!!!!
    We need you to find Australian Ways...Original Ideas....that help us to do better and be a more cultivated and Caring Nation!!!
    The USA abandons anyone who has no money....that is not the Australian Way.....we pay extra to look after the unfortunate.....because we know that through no fault of our own ....one day it might be us or one of our family that needs our help......our family then becomes National and the load is therefore lighter!!!!
    Stuff Off with the copycatting the American System...it is clearly broken!!!!
    Jen
    2nd Oct 2015
    7:26pm
    Well said Not Senile Yet!, but stop bamboozling people with common sense and truth, it's anathema in Australia these days.
    PlanB
    3rd Oct 2015
    7:41am
    Again I agree NSY
    PlanB
    3rd Oct 2015
    8:01am
    I note that Sussan Ley has the medical / aged and sport portfolio -- God forbid!

    She was given the aged portfolio as it had slipped their minds!??? Shows you how much they care about that!
    Jen
    3rd Oct 2015
    9:15am
    It'd be laughable if it wasn't so serious. Our government at work! :(
    Ragamuffin
    4th Oct 2015
    1:09pm
    Yes. I agree that Medicare needs a review. But not by politicians! I have had arguments with specialists (several) because they deemed I required scans ect. I knew I did not. I am a retired Registered Nurse of over 20years experience. I believe I know my own body best. When will doctors and specialists LISTEN to their patients.( I was proved correct.)
    Also- are patients aware that just because blood tests results can come back negative, especially for inflammation markers, this DOES NOT mean that nothing is wrong!!
    Patient care must be individualised, and anyone in the medical profession who does not believe this- should not be allowed to practice!
    PlanB
    4th Oct 2015
    2:44pm
    Very right Ragamuffin, so many Drs are so intent on sending one for MANY X-Rays and CT scans which can be very dangerous.

    People also need to be aware of medications they are given -- or Drs want o give, as there are also many that are quite dangerous AND can have reactions with other medications