Your AMA at work: defending the profession against trial by media

While another ‘trial by media’ piece appeared on ABC online recently, your AMA led a nuanced defence against the claims made in the piece.

This week we saw yet another piece from the ABC on out-of-pocket costs and Medicare billing, with blame for the problems levelled solely at the feet of the profession.

This week’s story was a follow-on story from a Four Corners piece last month.

Rest assured the AMA continues to advocate on your behalf. We have highlighted that there has already been an Independent Review of Medicare Compliance; a review which ruled out widespread fraud, and reaffirmed complexity as the main issue.

We are working with the government to implement the review recommendations, which will help the profession and patients alike. And we continue to work with government to support appropriate mechanisms for review bodies like the Professional Services Review and the Department of Health and Aged Care’s compliance program.

Along with the Australian Society of Anaesthetists we have made the strategic decision to not amplify the article further. Instead, we secured extensive coverage in other news outlets last weekend on the true cause of the issues patients and doctors face the underfunding and unnecessary complexity of Medicare.

Over the weekend, there were three extensive pieces in News Corp newspapers about the issues facing our members, and their patients, when it comes to Medicare, private health insurance and out of pocket costs.  

The Sunday Telegraph editorial highlighted that private health insurance, when combined with Medicare, doesn’t contribute near enough to the cost of medical treatments, noting that “worse still, even though it costs so much, health insurance rarely covers the full costs of surgery”. 

We worked with health reporter Sue Dunlevy on two in depth pieces. The first was a deep dive into how the underfunded Medicare system and why how the system intersects with private health insurance is the root cause of many issues. The story included extensive analysis of some common procedures and compared the AMA Fee for these items with the Medicare fee, highlighting in stark terms, the growing unfunded gap patients face. Tellingly, the article stated that “if we want better value from our health insurance, one way to achieve this it to raise the Medicare rebate”.

Sue Dunlevy article

These articles are all backed up by extensive AMA research, including the Why Medicare Indexation Matters report and the Why is there a gap analysis.

The second article took a detailed view at Private Health Insurance product design, and the profitability of the funds, backing up recent AMA analysis.

Related topics