Government makes last minute call on charging patients for pathology tests

The Government has done a last minute backflip on plans to start charging patients $30 for a blood test from

The Government has done a last minute backflip on plans to start charging patients $30 for a blood test from this weekend.

While it’s good news for many, the reprieve is only temporary, with the fees set to officially start in January.

The announcement to axe Medicare bulk billing incentives for blood and other pathology tests angered many when it was finalised in December 2015, with experts warning it would leave the most vulnerable people, like pensioners, out of pocket.

It is believed the last minute decision to keep Medicare payments going for a few more months is coming off the back of the ‘Mediscare’ campaign run by Labor during the election.

Making the announcement today, a spokesperson for Health Minister Sussan Ley told News Corp the government would continue to work with those affected by the imminent change, which is designed to save the government $332 million over three years.

“Bulk billing incentives for the pathology sector will continue until new regulatory arrangements are put in place and the Government will continue to consult with affected stakeholders,” the spokesman said.

While it the extension was great news for many, it wasn’t enough for others.

Opposition Health spokeswoman Catherine King said: “Malcolm Turnbull’s pathology fix was only ever a stunt to get through the election.”

“He needs to drop his cuts to pathology entirely,” she said.

“While this cut is on the table Malcolm Turnbull remains determined to make cancer patients and others with chronic health conditions pay more for their vital tests.”

With so many Australian seniors living on a tight budget already, there are concerns that charging them for blood tests is going to quickly add up and leave them shortchanged.

Do you think patients should be charged for pathology tests? Should we save money from the budget elsewhere isntead?

  1. My last extensive blood test cost me a total of $220. Unfortunately it was necessary to monitor my blood condition, there was no if’s or buts, it has to be done. there would be NO Medicare or Bulkbilling and no gap for health funds. They have it all tied up, thieves the lot of them. The most embarassing part is I have to pay this bill off like a lay by. A lay bye on my life, ironic, the Liberals have no idea what ill health really costs. Back flips are getting out of hand, I’m sure Tony Abbot is quitely having excitement butterflys in his tummy, is his time near….AGAIN……….

  2. Cheryl Martin  

    Disgusting move by the government. How about saving money by cutting their perks and large pensions.

    • Joy Anne Bourke  

      Cheryl u are so right. Their pensions and perks would save them more. LNP still not listening to the people. They are ignoring the pensioners, low income etc. STRIP THE POLLIES OF THEIR PENSIONS AND PERKS.

    • Marsha  

      Ì fully agree with you Cheryl. The government would certainly save all the money they need by stopping all their ongoing perks, and not be allowed to receive high pensions once they leave.
      Most of them are there to look after their own needs and not care about anyone else.

    • J E Sinagra  

      I heartily agree Cheryl. I am sick of their pay rises. My super pension fund (from my late husband) had a rise of $1.62 per fortnight !!!!! not even enough to pay for the $99 increase re car ins. let alone all the other costs that have risen. No other job gets all the perks they get, especially when they leave politics.

  3. Jeanette Grant  

    Ask the Pathology provider why they are putting their prices up to the patients when they will still be getting exactly the same amount from Medicare. Just because the govt will stop paying these providers an incentive to bulk bill, which is just profit for the pathology provider, doesn’t mean they have to increase their charges to us. Medicare will still pay them the same amount. Me? I will look for a pathology provider who still bulk bills, even if I have to drive a bit further. Have you ever met a poor pathologist???

    • Kathryn  

      Jeannette – if you are going to ask that, please put it in writing to the Head Office. I work in a regional lab and we and our clinics have absolutely no control over the billing policies. We constantly get calls from patients and Drs with billing enquiries and have to refer them to the billing department. Your local collection clinic will usually not be able to help you much when it comes to billing.

      • S .Edwards  

        Yes, agree with Jeanette . It’s not right ! all about greed .

    • Margaret  

      No, but they are very highly trained people, having done years and years of study and medical work before they can be a pathologist

  4. David lempriere  

    No way should this proposal go ahead , particularly for pensioners, us oldies just won’t bother having a blood test ,,therefore extra burdening on the health system , In the long run.

  5. Geri  

    I for one cant afford this whilst on a carers pension and my husband having fortnightly blood tests for cancer treatments. I won’t be visiting a GP for me nor get any tests done. No money otherwise to pay food

    • Paul Anthony Dimond  

      We are in the same position. My husband has metastatic pancreatic cancer. He requires weekly bloods to titrate his chemotherapy. Like you we are on very limited $$s. Weekly $30.00 will put us in a position of canceling 1 of those test’s. So much for universal health care. Outrageous in the extreme.

  6. The watcher  

    Once you are not a “productive unit” you have no value to the libs and nats. Your expense outweighs your tax input and so either pay or die. That is the neocon way. What saddens me is so many of us over 60 voted for the lying bastards. Note : these are the same peple who still wont let you choose your own time to die, oh no that would be ‘wrong’. Much better we suffer neglect and pain.

  7. What a terrible decision, especially when it is the elderly that will be hardest hit. As if visiting your GP is not an already over the top expense. I can see that there will be some putting off getting lab tests completed if they find it will strain their budget to severely.

  8. Kerry Patterson  

    I’m not a Pensioner but retired. Due to a blood condition I must have blood tests every fortnight and sometimes weekly. This will either kill me financially or have me questioning if I should skip this or that blood test and risk clots forming.

  9. John Helsdon  

    This government continues to slug the people who least can afford their changes to pensions and now pathology etc whereas they continue to provide cuts for the most wealthy people in the country. Their changes to the determination to the asset test for the age pension looks like it will affect my wife and I by an estimated $10,000 a year. The aged who can least afford the changes get slugged while the rich get looked after in such a way that they can increase their their wealth. It stinks.

  10. linus  

    How did I miss this important news item before now? Sound s very mean to me.

  11. I suffer from melanoma. A prerequisite of my treatment every fortnight is a blood test within 48 hours of treatment. This ensures a lot of things including the fact the drugs aren’t killing me.

    To put it bluntly I costed it at a minimum of $1000 extra as I have to have 7 items tested in my blood meaning two vials for testing.

    I could go the hospital but to go to Peter Mac Pathology is a 75 km roundtrip with tolls, petrol and parking amounting to nearly the same PLUS I would be putting the hospital to additional work which they certainly don’t need.

    Once again the LNP Government shows they don’t give a toss about persons once they reach 60. They view them as a burden on everybody even though we still pay taxes and when working a sight more than some.

  12. Ohh but we have plenty of money for more refugees, what a bunch of bastards.

    • Raelene  

      I agree with you completely. They don’t mind what they hand over to the younger people and the refugees but they say us “oldies ” are a burden on the taxpayers. What do they think we have been all our lives until we aged.

      • Patricia Rides  

        I agree with you completely. If they stopped paying for people who have 3-4 wives living in separate homes with more children than aussies can afford and kept pathology they would be way ahead. Also cut out the perks, large pensions and wage rises to polies think of what our country could save.

    • Kerry  

      What has refugees got to do with paying for blood tests. If you can find a relationship between them, tell us how you justify denying assistance to refugees or are you blind to the suffering of others.

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