The Morrison Government is set to completely overhaul the Medicare rebate system, leaving some patients with unexpected out-of-pocket costs.
Due to start next month, the shake-up includes over 900 amendments to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) – changing the way Medicare pays for important treatments and surgeries.
Let’s run through what these changes are and what they mean to you.
What exactly is changing?
The MBS is a list of health services the Government subsidises with Medicare rebates. Simply put, the list details the amount the Government chips in to help cover our medical costs.
The Government’s proposed amendments will see hundreds of items on this list changing, making it the biggest overhaul of the system in decades.
The Government has not released full details of the changes due on 1 July, but we do know that this round involves changes to:
- 188 cardiac surgery items
- 150 general surgery items
- 594 orthopaedic items
Why is it changing?
The changes are due to an ongoing review of the MBS.
From 2015, the Liberal Government started a review of the Schedule, and since 2016 has been making changes to it.
The last major round of changes to how Medicare subsidises important medical services was in 2018. This round included changes to how spinal surgery services were subsidised. Doctors were given only a short lead time to introduce the changes, which affected the costs of some peoples’ spinal surgery, or resulted in surgery delays.
How am I affected by the changes?
How much you will be affected by these changes will depend on what medical services you require.
Medical experts have already warned these changes will increase out of pocket costs – hundreds of dollars for some common procedures and up to $10,000 for rarer conditions.
At the moment, it is unclear exactly how much these changes are going to cost patients – which is why doctors and patient groups are asking for more time to review the changes.
What can I do to stop the changes?
When it comes to our health, the Morrison Government can’t be trusted to get it right.
They’ve already bungled the vaccine roll-out, the most important public health program in a generation.
Now with these changes to Medicare, comes yet another attack on our public health programs – on top of the billions in funding they’ve already stripped away since 2014.
The Australian public won’t be duped into accepting these attacks on our Medicare system. Last time the Liberals tried to massively change how Medicare and our public hospitals were funded, hundreds of thousands of Australians stood up to oppose the changes.
We’re ready to defend our rights to affordable healthcare again.
You can join the campaign to protect Medicare here