Massive Medicare changes that could leave you and your GP at risk

A massive shake-up of the Medicare system could leave some of the sickest Australians severely out of pocket if the

A massive shake-up of the Medicare system could leave some of the sickest Australians severely out of pocket if the new changes go through. Doctors have fought to have the level of payments increased but will leave those who have cancer or diabetes a maximum of $1795 worth of GP care.

A new scheme from the Government was meant to fix any gaps in Medicare and provide better payments for GPs while providing better care for the chronically ill. The hope of the scheme was to provide complete care for one in five Australians who are battling chronic illnesses at home. This would keep them out of the hospital and theoretically save the health system the financial strain.

While there are some added steps for patients to get enrolled in the scheme, Doctors are now concerned that this “wrap around” scheme will take money from their pockets. Previously there was no set amount of time that a Doctor would see a patient. The doctor would get paid $37 by Medicare for a typical 20-minute visit and more for a longer visit. Under the new scheme, a limit would be set on how much a Doctor will get paid to see patients, which could leave you being cut off during your visit if it goes over what is allowed.

Many Australians suffering from illnesses such as cancer and diabetes need to visit the Doctor weekly to keep on top of their illness. The new scheme would only fun 48 visits to the GP a year which would mean there are some weeks that they would not be able to see the GP unless they wanted to pay for it out of their own pocket.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners have taken aim at the Government for not consulting them before making the announcement and have asked for an additional $300 per patient per year. They believe that this is the only way that the new system will work.

What do you think? Do you think that this is a lot of back room politics that aren’t concerned with your medial needs or is this change necessary to keep Medicare from falling apart?

  1. Sandra  

    If the Dr’s weren’t flat out trying to see and fill out paper work for Centrelink they would be able to spend more time with these very ill patients! Centrelink also won’t recognise many of the certificates which sends people to more Drs and specialists to prove illnesses clogging up the entire system so people have to go searching for jobs which just are not there especially for people over 60 ludicrous!!!

  2. Greg Hills  

    It is about time that ALL Australians to,d this damn LNP government that Medicare is untouchable.
    They must not do anything at all to undermine, break down, dilute, or otherwise destroy, what has always been, and still remains a magnificent facility.
    If they think that Medicare is short of funding requirements, then let them go the other way. Why not just increase the Medicare Levy charged at tax time to 5%! It has been a paltry 1.5% ever since its inception. I think, like everything, an increase to a realistic level is well overdue.
    Workers won’t miss the little bit out of their tax refund, and can rest assured that the increase for Medicare will help make this great institution become almost, if not all self funding for the foreseeable future.
    Go one step further if they like – reduce the general tax rate from 32.5% and higher levels, down to 25% for all income thresholds as well as the business tax levels.

    • Cheryl Bullemor  

      The money the government has to fund medicare comes from taxpayers, the pit is not bottomless, people drink, smoke, gamble, the amount of money the nation spent on the Melbourne Cup for example. Yet suggest people should pay more for their health and they are horrified.

      • Janice  

        Yes, Cheryl, you’re correct!

        Get fed-up to the back-teeth with ‘whingers’ appearing on various tv shows stating ‘I’ve got to wait three years’ for my Operation’!
        But in the background, one can see THE latest LED tv screen!

        Others’ spend much money on gambling, grog, ciggies’, & maybe drugs, but have no money to look after their own health requirements!

        How many years’ worth of good medical applications’, were wasted on Melbourne Cup spending?
        Absolutely mind-blowingly ridiculous!

        The whole situation is A about T, & nobody seems to give a brass razoo, except the Dr’s who don’t want to lose income, as then the Merc or BMW couldn’t be bought!

        If the ‘whingers’ had ‘Top Hospital’ Private Cover, there’d be either no wait, or maybe, a week!

        I’m on the Pension, but go ‘without’ to pay the above, which, to me, is very comforting in my dotage!
        To be able to choose one’s Specialist, & his Anaesthetist, is better than any tv, IMHO!

    • Joy Anne Bourke  

      Greg, could not agree more but Turnbull is not listening. Changes have already been made to PBS and Medicare for Pensioners. If I need a MRI which has been suggested after a CT Scan then it will cost me $250 which I don’t have. So then I just don’t have it. Prescriptions have become more expensive, since I cannot take generic medicines, might be the same ingredients but are a different make up and that is what makes me sick. I have to pay a premium now and that costs me more for my prescriptions, trying to get rid of some, but my doctor said I can’t.
      Funding should be increased not decreased. I am on warfarin and need regular blood tests and checks.

  3. Truth 13  

    Why is it necessary for any one to see a GP, every week. If someone has a terminal sickness, what can a GP do to help them. Have a good look at what a GP does, when a sick person visit a GP. They listen to the sick, look at the throat, check for any glans around the neck, check the blood pressure & pulse, check the ear drums, and listen to the lung function, or check whether there are any broken bones, in case if that person had a fall. If someone has any broken bones, the patient know it before the GP. Anything more, they write a referral for a blood test, an X’ray or a scan. When those are done, there is a report, which can be read by the patient. If the reports are found to be normal, is it necessary to visit the GP, find out, what is in it ?. With modern technology, it is possible to buy an electronic pressure & heat beat monitor for about $30 to $40. Blood Glucose monitors are available for less than $25. These can be done at home, so why visit a GP. If someone has broken bones, why can’t that person go & get an X’ray, & if the report is bad, why can’t that person go to the hospital, with that X’ray. What all GPs do is, when the patient looks badly sick, or the GP is unable to see, what is wrong with the patient, they send the patient to a Specialist for further checks. What the specialists do is to send the sick for the same tests. If so, why can’t the sick go direct to the specialist or the hospital for treatment. What most sick get from a GP is a prescription to buy medicine. If a young woman wants to have birth control pills, why can’t she buy it direct from the pharmacy ?. If someone has a bad cough, GP gives a prescription for antibiotics. Is it necessary to have a prescription from a GP buy it ?. If the sick can buy Panadol or similar, aspirin or similar, cough syrup etc., 500mgr antibiotics also should be available over the counter. If these medicine are available over the counter, many people with minor sicknesses will not visit a GP. Look at the people with eye sight problems. Where do they go. They go to the suppliers of specs., and not to GPs or Specialists. They need to visit a eye specialist only if the optometrist recommend it. Government should allow all seniors to have a blood test annually or bi-annually, going direct for a blood test. Anyone who has seen a bloody report, & can read English, can see, whether the readings are OK or not. Time to change with the time, which will save a lot of money from Medicare.

    • Sandra Workman  

      You don’t really understand about healthcare do you? A doctor has to prescribe the antibiotics to ensure it is not something that will have a bad reaction with other medications the person is taking and so that the right anti biotic for the problem is given. You may be able to read a report, but bet you don’t understand the ramifications of it, as for jus go to hospital the hospital,emergency depts will love that, and so will you sitting there for hours there is more to diabetes than sugar levels, kidneys need to be monitored, eyes, circulation system, plus a whole heap of other things the waiting list for specialists is long enough now, just marine if we diagnosed our win conditions and just tried to turn up. Wake up. Oh no I am not a doctor or involved in any related medical profession

  4. I fail to understand why anyone, no matter what their illness, would need to visit a GP more than 48 visits per year! How outrageous! That amount of attention is called Hypochondria and would perhaps benefit from a psych evaluation.

    • GRACE BRICE  

      Have you ever had to deal with chronic illness? I sincerely hope that you never do. I have Chronic Kidney Disease and sometimes manage quite well on my own. At other times I need a lot of assistance. Management of these diseases as stated above can be quite complicated as the doctor needs to be across a whole lot of management practices, the ramifications of interactions of the many medications that I need to take, the effect of kidney disease on other parts of the body. He/she needs to ensure that I have annual skin checks, bone density tests, regular eye examinations – I’ve forgotten some of the regular things that I need him to ensure are up to date. And if one is dealing with chronic illness it sometimes feels very difficult to keep on top of things. This is extremely frustrating when, in the past – prior to the illness, I would have done it in a snap.

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