THE debate over a proposed $6 charge for bulk-billed doctor appointments has highlighted the fact that Southern Grampians has one of lowest rates of Medicare-supported GP visits in Victoria.
Federal Health Department figures show a gap between levels of access to subsidised healthcare within the wider region, with Glenelg Shire scoring significantly higher.
Rural Doctors Association of Australia President and Tamworth GP, Dr Ian Kamerman said the local disparity of Medicare-supported services show how bulk billing affects health choices.
“It supports the argument that costs have an influence on patients,” he said.
“If they can’t get a bulk billed GP appointment they will delay it until it becomes a hospital visit and the Government has to pay for it, causing a budget blowout.
“It’s a very false economy.”
The $6 payment is not Federal Government policy, but has been suggested by the Australian Centre for Health Research think tank as one way to rein in Medicare costs.
Full story in the Spectator on Saturday, January 18, 2014