AMA continues high level talks on Medicare freeze
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Health Minister Catherine King attended a recent AMA Federal Council meeting to discuss health policy ahead of the May Federal Budget. Discussions ranged from the Medicare rebate indexation freeze to private health insurance, and mental health.
In discussing the MBS freeze, Mr Shorten said that he would offer bipartisan support for the Government if it lifted the freeze, but only if the action was taken across the board.
"Labor is firmly of the view that if you're going to fix the problem of the freeze, you need to do it for all categories, not just GP rebates,” he told the meeting.
With speculation that the Government is preparing to lift the freeze in the May Budget, AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon spoke to the media this week warning that the Coalition will be "burnt to toast" at the next election without a positive health story to tell.
Dr Gannon said there are ongoing discussions between the AMA and the Government and the AMA is keen to see the rebate freeze lifted across the entire MBS schedule. He said that the lifting of the freeze would be a chance for the Government to ‘get the monkey off their back’ and move forward with producing a positive health agenda that the AMA can work with constructively.