Doctors launch Medicare rebate campaign

Contributed from Victoria

(RACGP) has launched a television campaign designed to alert the public to the effects of the ongoing rebate freeze.

Freezing the rebate means that doctors are put into the position of charging more fees off their patients and they do not want to be put in this [position

Doctors have launched TV advertisements to warn patients they will have to pay to see a doctor as they escalate their campaign against the Turnbull government’s six year freeze on Medicare rebates.

“The Federal Government’s freeze on Medicare rebates means you’ll pay more to see a doctor,” the Advertisements say.

Doctors are already displaying posters in their surgeries campaigning against the cuts and some are printing protest messages on prescriptions.

Two thirds of doctors have told two separate surveys they are planning to end bulk billing and introduce a $15 fee to see a doctor as a result of the freeze.

RACGP president Dr Frank Jones says the freeze will cost doctors on average $50,000 in income a year and to survive financially they will have to end bulk billing.

“The RACGP has no political affiliation we simply want to engage with patients about the fiscal consequences of this policy,” he says.

In a separate video posted on YouTube Dr Jones tells patients GP practices in some lower socio-economic areas will have to close as a result of the campaign.

“The message is clear. GPs will not be able to bulk bill if the freeze continues and if you are sick you’ll pay more for being sick and no-one will be immune,” he said.

“Our college is now is the midst of one of our biggest public advocacy campaigns to alert patients and the general public about the profound ramifications to their health care provision at their very own GP,” he adds.

Outgoing Australian Medical Association president Dr Brian Owler also lashed the government over its health policy in his parting address to the Australian Medical Association.

He says the government deliberately froze doctors and other medical groups out of decision-making.

“As confirmed by the Minister herself this week, the health portfolio is not run by the Minister for Health. It is run by Treasury and Finance,” he said.

“The freeze is not just about GPs. It is about the out-of-pocket expenses for patients seeing a specialist

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