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HEALTH COSTS ARE INCREASING IN SHORTLAND

January 22, 2020

Official data has confirmed what people in Shortland already know – that health costs have never been higher than under Scott Morrison.

The Government’s own Health Department has revealed to the Senate that people in Shortland pay an average out-of-pocket fee of $37.10 to see a GP.

This is a record high – up $10.19 or 38% since the Liberals were elected.

The data also shows that last year 41.9% of patients in Shortland had to pay to see their general practitioner.

“This is only going to get worse as the Morrison Government last month reduced the incentive for doctors to bulk bill in our area,” Member for Shortland Pat Conroy said.

“I am contacted daily from people whose doctors are no longer bulk billing or whose doctors have put up their fees. And I have met with doctors who say they have no choice but to put up fees and are worried about the impact this will have on the health of our community.

“If people can’t afford to go to the doctor, they may neglect their health, creating bigger problems down the track, or they will go to hospital instead, putting more pressure on our already stretched emergency departments.

“I have twice written to Health Minister Greg Hunt asking him to review the decision to cut the bulk billing incentive, especially because of its impact on disadvantaged communities such as Windale.”

Specialist out-of-pocket fees are also at record highs, with people in Shortland paying an average $80.52 to see a specialist– up a staggering $23.49 or 41% under the Coalition.

With just 19% of people in Shortland always bulk billed by specialists, these costs hit thousands of locals every year.

These new figures are a damning indictment of the Coalition’s record of cuts and neglect in health.

After the Liberals tried and failed to impose a GP Tax, they introduced the Medicare freeze – a GP Tax-by-stealth.

Scott Morrison extended the freeze as Treasurer, leading directly to the out-of-pocket costs that people in Shortland face today.

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