AMA rejects proposal for photos on Medicare cards

12 Sep 2019

The AMA has provided a submission to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry into the Human Services Amendment (Photographic Identification and Fraud Prevention) Bill 2019.

In this proposed amendment, the definition of Medicare card information in the Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973 (the Act) has been modified to include the Medicare card holder’s photograph. If enacted, Medicare cards would require photographic identification on the front of the card.

The AMA’s submission does not support this amendment and outlined three major arguments:

  1. There is no evidence to support the cost or prevalence of Medicare card fraud in the Bill or in the explanatory memorandum that would warrant such changes to the Act;
  2. The addition of a photograph to the front of Medicare cards poses several significant impracticalities by increasing red tape and potentially limiting access to care; and
  3. There have been recent improvements to the security and integrity of Medicare following the recommendations of the Independent Review of Health Provider’s Access to Medicare Numbers.

The Independent Review of Health Provider’s Access to Medicare Numbers sought extensive public consultation, to which the AMA provided a detailed submission. The Review Panel wrote a Final Report that contained 14 recommendations on how to improve the security of Medicare, which were all agreed upon and implemented by the Government. The addition of photographic identification to Medicare cards was discussed in the Final Report, and rejected. We have highlighted this point in the current submission.

Read the AMA’s full submission here.