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Catholic Health says Medicare overhaul will only benefit doctors

The Federal Government's proposed changes to Australia's Medicare health funding system will result in the health dollar being stretched to improve doctors' incomes, not health outcomes per se, according to Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan.

It would be the first time the Government has allowed private health cover to include GPs' fees. Patients would only have to pay the difference between the $25 Medicare rebate and the total amount of the doctor's charge.

Federal Opposition health spokesman Stephen Smith has said the Government's reform package would destroy Medicare as a "universal system of health care for all Australians".

"We will find health funds stretched to cover not only doctors' fees in hospitals, but doctors' fees at the GP practice," Mr Sullivan told ABC Radio's The World Today. "This will further disadvantage real costs of care in hospitals."

He argued it would also be inflationary, forcing up the cost of the premiums and adding to the bill for the Government's 30% private insurance rebate.

ABC 'The World Today'

That visit to the GP just gets dearer (The Advertiser)
Howard committed to bulk billing for some Australians (Catholic Health Australia Canberra Update)
Proposed changes signal end of Medicare (7/4/03)
GP Gap Proposal Will Blow Out Insurance Costs (Catholic Health Australia 12/3/03)

23 Apr 2003