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5 Comments

  1. 1

    Terry Barnes

    Obviously I disagree with almost everything you say, but congratulations on starting Wonky Health.

    Reply
  2. 2

    Charles Alpren

    Thanks Tim, and congratulations on a fantastic first Wonky Health column. I disagree with one small point though: that privately billing GP practices will not be affected. I actually wonder if the copayment will affect privately billing practices more than those that currently bulk-bill.

    I think that the copay will affect patients who currently cannot afford private fees, but because the rebate will go down, if a private practice keeps their fees the same the out-of-pocket expense for each consultation will go up by $5 per patient. This will drive many patients away (to the bulk-billing practices who have lost patients who can’t afford the $7). If the practice reduces their fees, their revenue will also go down. Either way the practice makes less.

    Furthermore, in privately billing practices loads of items are bulk-billed. Quick consultations and follow-ups, vaccinations (every flu vaccine given!), consultations with many item numbers charged, nurse-led consultations with a quick look-in from the doctor – all these get bulk billed. This will be unsustainable under the proposed changes.

    Our focus is quite rightly on the effect of the proposals on our patients, and it is clearly the patients with the least ability to pay who will suffer the most, but I think that the effect on on the more well-off practices will be substantial.

    Reply
  3. 3

    claire francis

    Hi Dr Tim,

    Thanks for a great column: it didn’t make me feel better about the budget, but it is heartening to read a great column that outlines the issues so clearly. As continually outraged by the governments health policy as I continue to be, I’m reassured and inspired – both as a medical student, and as a person from a disadvantaged background – by doctors such as yourself, who are proudly and vocally committed to social justice and health equity. Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  4. 4
    Jennifer Doggett

    Jennifer Doggett

    I think I’ve got my money’s worth already 😉

    Reply
  5. 5

    Fiona Moore

    On the electorate of Canberra – you paid full fees for the doctor because you really didn’t have much choice. There was one bulk billing clinic in Woden, which I went to when I HAD to get in that day and was okay to wait three hours to see someone (drop in only). Otherwise it was beg the receptionist at my usual GP for a same day appointment, pay the $70 and suck it up.
    There’s a reason that the ACT gov now lets you get a medical cert for 1-2 days off work from a pharmacist/

    Reply

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