An increasing number of Australians are attending General Practitioner (GP) appointments without reaching into their pockets, with GP bulk billing rates in NSW under Medicare hitting a record high of 88.9 per cent for the full year of 2018-19.
Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said just like the new Medicare-funded MRI licence he secured for Tamworth recently, the state’s high bulk-billing rate underscored the Coalition Government’s strong record on health.
“This is evidence that more of NSW and our region are visiting their doctor without having to pay a cent,” Mr Joyce said.
“It means that not only are more people in NSW being bulk-billed by a local doctor, here in the New England they also have more opportunity to receive a Medicare-supported MRI scan closer to home as well.”
Nationally, a GP bulk billing rate of 86.2 per cent saw a four percentage point increase on the 2012-13 figure.
Patients made 136.5 million bulk billed GP visits in 2018-19, up 3.3 million on the previous financial year.
The Coalition Government invested $24.1 billion in all Medicare services in 2018-19, an increase of 3.5 per cent in benefits paid.
Australians accessed 335.8 million bulk billed services including GP, specialist, pathology and diagnostic imaging services in 2018–19, up 8.9 million more than the record set last year.
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said the figures showed Medicare was “supporting the health and wellbeing of Australians more than ever before.”
“By increasing our investment in Medicare, the Morrison Government is ensuring it supports quality health care,” Minister Hunt said.
On 1 July this year, the Government increased the patient rebate for further GP items on the Medicare Benefits Schedule. Specialist procedures, allied health services and other GP services such as mental health and after hour’s services, were indexed