Medicare statistics don't give the full picture
The AMA has warned that statistics released this week on growing Medicare utilisation should not be used by the Government to justify funding cuts. In a first world country, we should embrace the fact that Australia can provide timely and affordable access to health care to the community.
As the population grows and ages, there will be a growing demand for health care services. Despite this pressure, health care expenditure in Australia remains modest by world standards and as a percentage of GDP sits just below the OECD average. The Commonwealth Government’s total health expenditure is also reducing as a percentage of the total Budget. In the 2014-15 Commonwealth Budget, health was 16.13% of the total, down from 18.09% in 2006-07
The AMA agrees that the MBS should reflect modern medical practice and the whole profession is participating in the reviews of the MBS that the Minister has commissioned. The profession will take the lead in identifying waste and inefficiency in the health care system, however, it is critical that any savings identified are re-invested into the health care system and not used to achieve Budget savings.