Forget about Seeing the Doctor Now, If You are Poor! By James Reed

It looks like the bulk billing system is on the verge of collapse, or already has. The facts are detailed below, but the Medicare Rebate will not cover the cost of seeing the GP. I found this out the other day, when I could not pay the gap for my appointment, so had to walk out. And so I did not see the doctor. At present I have an eye issue and are treating myself from research on the internet such as PubMed; no alternative. We have now entered the Third World, as the only thing which, for the poor, separated us from them was high-level medical care, and that has gone. I blame the government who could easily solve this problem, but won’t, wanting to waste money on woke causes. And, the average GP is doing aright compared to most of us, we the poor struggling to get food now. The GPs will still have their holidays, dinners, wine and private schools for their kids. The former GP I once went to always used to rattle on about his latest holiday, one out of ego, and two to make the appointment into a long appointment to get more Medicare. After Covid, I have a low opinion of these guys.

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/the-oz/news/gps-warn-of-the-collapse-of-bulk-billing/news-story/1a6ec1b2968183d9cadb7bd55ac05b11

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11081047/Australian-GPs-say-bulk-billing-brink-collapse.html

“A trip to the doctor could soon become much more painful for Australians with the nation's bulk billing system on the brink of collapse as patient demand skyrockets.

Hundreds of clinics are struggling to survive due to a drop in GP numbers and a shortfall of overseas-trained doctors coming to Australia.

Rising operating costs are also hurting practices as revenue from Medicate rebates continues plummet. 

The average out-of-pocket expenses for GP services have risen by 60 per cent in the last decade.

Many clinics have been left with no other choice but to start charging gap fees to all patients, including those who need their services the most in order to keep their doors open.

GPs have begun advising to patients that they can no longer bulk bill - a practice that's becoming more widespread.

'It's now got to a point where practices can no longer sustain bulk billing,' Royal Australian College of General Practitioners vice-president Bruce Willett told The Australian.

Some of Australia's biggest medical centre operators joined forces earlier this year to form the Primary Care Business Council to address the many challenges facing GPs.

Director Peter Stratmann said the sector is on the brink of ­collapse because bulk billing is no longer financially viable.

The Medicare Benefits Schedule rebate for a standard consultation recently rose by 65 cents to $39.75.

'We've seen practices having to close and increasingly in the last number of weeks we've seen practices impose private billing fees, because otherwise they won't make it,'  Dr Stratmann said. 

'They just can't make ends meet without imposing some private fees.'

He admitted the dire situation puts pensioners in a terrible position and fears they will overwhelm the hospital system for non-urgent care at a higher cost to taxpayers.

Almost nine out of 10 GP visits across Australia in 2021 were bulk billed with no out-of-pocket cost for the patient. 

According to the latest Medicare data, GP bulk billing rates grew to a record high of  88.4 per cent in the December quarter 2021, a slight increase of 0.3 per cent from 12 months prior.

The news comes days after health minister Mark Butler warned primary care is in 'worse shape than it's been in the entire Medicare era' while addressing the annual Australian Medical Association conference.

'It's hard enough to get a GP right now and we know that the current generation of older GPs are pretty exhausted, particularly over the last two and a half years, and we just do not have the pipeline coming through,'  Mr Butler told the conference.

'It is probably the most terrifying trend that I see in primary care.'

Anthony Albanese's government has set up the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce boosted by a $750m Strengthening Medicare fund as part of its commitment to general practice.

'The government is committed to ensuring Australians get the care they need, when they need it and without worrying about the cost,' Mr Butler said.”

I don’t in the least feel sorry for GPs for our suffering, we the poor, is real and deep. 

 

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Thursday, 11 August 2022