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RACGP appeals for urgent political focus on rising patient costs


Paul Hayes


6/02/2018 3:55:08 PM

The RACGP is calling on Australia’s political leaders to develop an immediate solution to patients’ rising out-of-pocket costs.

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The RACGP has proposed lowering the Extended Medicare Safety Net threshold from $656.30 to $500 for concession cardholders, veterans, older people, and children under the age of 16.

‘Australians pay some of the highest out-of-pocket costs in the world. Even worse, out-of-pocket costs are on the rise – a trend that cannot continue,’ RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel told newsGP.
 
The RACGP’s proposal to lower the Extended Medicare Safety Net threshold, which was presented to all sides of politics last year, outlined the suggestion to lower the threshold for concession cardholders, veterans, older people, and children under 16 from $656.30 to $500.
 
Dr Seidel has urged political leaders to consider that:

  • patients with higher care needs, due to poorer health, are often those most socioeconomically disadvantaged and the least likely to have private health insurance
  • the rates of potentially avoidable deaths are higher in the lowest socioeconomic group compared to the highest socioeconomic group
  • diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke are more than twice as common among adults in the country’s lowest socioeconomic group
  • compared to other Medicare measures, the cost of lowering the Extended Medicare Safety Net threshold would be relatively modest.
‘All Australians deserve equal access to high quality healthcare, and patients should never be discouraged from seeking the healthcare they need due to cost,’ he said. ‘Lowering the threshold for individuals and families would both deliver on the promise to strengthen Medicare for those who need it most, and send a strong message of support and commitment to the health of all Australians.
 
‘With the RACGP’s proposed measures, people who can least afford high out-of-pocket costs can continue to access services through a strengthened Extended Medicare Safety Net.
 
‘The time for talk is over. It is time the country’s political leaders start delivering health policy that would keep all Australians healthy and out of hospitals.’



Extended-Medicare-Safety-Net-threshold medicare





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