Unbelievable: Diabetics could be out of pocket hundreds for their treatment

Do you suffer from diabetes? The Government’s proposed cuts to pathology may have major consequences. Health Minister Sussan Ley told

Do you suffer from diabetes? The Government’s proposed cuts to pathology may have major consequences.

Health Minister Sussan Ley told families just after Christmas last year that a number of items were being removed from the Medicare Benefits Scheme, and now some more devastating news has come to light.

There are now proposed cuts and limitations on bulk billing incentive payments for pathology and diagnostic imaging services, which will save the government $650 million over four years

Dr Nick Musgrave, president of Pathology Australia, told SMH that without the payment, most pathology services would no longer be bulk-billed. This means about 1.7 million Australians with diabetes could have to pay more than $400 upfront for a year of standard blood and urine tests to monitor their kidneys and risk of heart disease.

These costs could deter some patients from doing the tests “making management of their diabetes more difficult for their doctors, and will result in an increase in complications of diabetes including kidney disease and blindness,” Dr Musgrave said.

And even those there’s a Medicare rebate, Dr Musgrave said patients with diabetes will still be left about $270 out of pocket a year, as the Medicare rebate for pathology services had been frozen for the past 20 years: “It doesn’t matter how the government would like to construct the funding of the tests, [the bulk-billing incentive is] part of the overall funding for them”.

Cheryl Steele, who is a diabetes educator and nurse told Fairfax that pensioners with diabetes were most likely to forego pathology tests, putting them at heightened risk of kidney and cardiovascular diseases, because they are often already paying for multiple medications.

“We have patients who will take medication for blood pressure this month and cholesterol next month because they can’t afford it all. Anything that puts extra burden on them to maintain good health will ultimately end up costing more hospital beds”.


Tell us, will this change affect you?

  1. Sue Madigan

    This would be horrible for the older generation! I can’t afford half of what I’m suppose to be taking

  2. We

    We are already unable to afford the medication for current diabetic issues. We are not on a health card and pay more than $400 a month health insurance. Where will this end.

    • Jennie Kerr  

      Carol, how could it cost $400 per month for health insurance. I pay $2845.00 per year and have cover for every thing, no excess no co-payment full private hospital cover. If you are paying for dental, glasses, physio etc. as extras it is a waste of money. The limit on glasses, dental work etc. is less than the premiums paid. You can get 5 visits per year to physio via your doctor giving you a health plan, which is nearly enough if you keep up the work and exercises a good physio will give you. I have to travel to Sydney every 2-3 months for treatment and apart from petrol (500ks) everything is paid for. Sounds like you need a decent GP. to help with costs.

  3. Loraine Smith  

    OK, well that’s the end of me monitoring my diabetes. I can’t afford to live, so may as well die early.

  4. human life is worth nothing to the politicians , is this the rise of the new nazis??

  5. JANIDA  


  6. Margaret Hewens  

    We already had to do away with Health Insurance because of our medications. Its costs about $300 a month at the chemist plus I have to pay full price to see the Endocrinologist because we don’t have a health care card yet. Where will it end, its even to expensive to die………


    • Beverley  

      Margaret – you should be able to avail yourself of the Safety Net with that amount of spending each year. Hasn’t your chemist told you about it? Only applies to prescriptions though

  7. Bev  

    Has nobody got the intelligence or maths ability to realise that the more people’s health is neglected because of increased costs does not ultimately save the Gov anything due to increased need for hospitalisation & further treatment, loss of wages. The list goes on & on & on!!!

    • Susan Ley you have got to be kidding how does this save the government money!! As a diabetic if I am not monitored with blood tests how are any doctors going to keep their patients über control with their diabetes. Why do you politicians always target the most needy! You will gladly give drug addicts needles etc for free but the people who don’t choose to have diabetes have to pay for services. Sussan Ley you need to be sacked if you think this is a way of saving money. Shame shame shame on you!!!

  8. Joy Anne Bourke  

    Wow what a government??? They want to save paying pensions to the older generation by cutting back on health for them so they die. What about the pensions the retired MPs get and past PM’s if they stopped that they could afford these services to older generations. COME ON POLY’S GET YOUR FACTS AND FIGURES IN LINE WITH THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE. YOU WENT INTO POWER VOTED BY THE PEOPLE NOT BY YOUR INTENTIONS TO HURT EVERYONE EXCEPT YOURSELVES AND LINE YOUR POCKETS. AND I BET YOUR DOING THIS ALSO FOR A BIG PAY RISE COMING UP. BET NOBODY THOUGHT OF THAT

  9. I am a diabetic, and I have the other ‘usual’ ailments. I have not been to my ophthalmologist for over 12 months because he charges more than ‘medi-cost’ reimburses him. Now I will be unable to get my kidney and heart tests either? The government is saying we are no longer of any value since we became Senior Citizens. Why not take a pay cut of $50,000 for each politician, and save a lot more than you could by punishing the retired taxpayers!

  10. Ester  

    The government better allow the volunteer euthanasia because not much else is there .

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