Medicare Safety Net changes should be scrapped
Following extensive AMA advocacy, the AMA has welcomed the Government’s decision to withdraw its proposed changes to the Medicare Safety Net, with AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, saying that the changes should be scrapped altogether, not just put on hold. These changes, if passed by the Parliament, would have hurt vulnerable patients in the community, including cancer sufferers and people needing mental health treatments.
Professor Owler said that the Health Minister can now concentrate on other priorities in the health portfolio, including the MBS review, the Primary Care review, the review of the private health insurance sector, and public hospital funding.
“It is important that these reviews progress with genuine consultation with the medical profession, and do not become a cost cutting exercise,” Professor Owler said. He further advised Government against using the reviews to recoup the almost $267 million in Budget savings it was pursuing with the Safety Net changes and to continue in the spirit of fairness by lifting the freeze on Medicare patient rebates.