So many elections! Trump 2016, Morrison 2019, Johnson 2019…
If you suffer from premature election, you may feel the need for better healthcare. Primary care consistently delivers better bang for your buck – whether via the tax system or from your own pocket. Sometimes there is a gap – read on and watch the video.
It’s important to us at PartridgeGP that our valued patients know why we charge a gap fee.
The video by the excellent Dr Edwin Kruys that sums it up has…disappeared! Dr Aaron Frost steps up instead…
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One thought on “Why do we charge a gap?”
Let me explain but it will be a long post.
1. Medicare is like an private health insurance provider. In this case Medicare is the insurance provider for all citizens. Like private health insurance companies when you use your dental benefits they only cover a certain amount (usually a pittance) and that is why you have to pay a gap to the dentist even with private cover. This is the same with Medicare. the rebate you get back for a GP consultation is a pittance hence the gaps.
2. The blame lies with the federal government. If the medicare rebate given to you went up with inflation alone from the time of its inception the rebate you would get would be around $80. It is currently $38. It is less than half what it should be. Think about this. Imagine if your wages did not even go up with inflation every year and as a result all bills go up but you wage is less than half what it should be. It is not sustainable in the long term. As a result it is almost impossible to bulk bill because if you do then you have to push 5 minute medicine which becomes a rush, conditions can be missed etc.
3. The bills for the GP continue to mount with time as the wage stays the same. The receptionists’ wages, practice managers, utility bills, equipment, rent etc does not stay stagnant like the medicare rebates. They go up every year with inflation. Indemnity insurance also goes up every year. So if a GP sees, lets say, 5000 patients per year He will make less and less money for seeing those people with every passing year as his expenses go up.
4. The government puffs its chest out and says that it will build up more hospitals to reduce waiting times and improve services. Meanwhile they continue to ignore primary care. Does anyone know the cost of a patient being seen in emergency for any condition? By the time the receptionist sees you, the triage nurse. sees you, the nurse inside sees you, the junior doctor sees you who then runs your case by the senior doctor, the investigations that may need to be done – the cost of 1 patient (assuming nothing major is needed) is around $700 per patient. If the government put up your medicare rebate up to see your GP, there would be more bulk billing, more people seeing their GP, less people in the Emergency Dept and a massive amount of money saved for the government.
Now this makes sense to the majority of people, so you might ask why is it that the government does not implement this? Well the answer is that a politician saying “we are going to increase the medicare rebate for GP’s” does not win them anywhere near as many votes as saying “we are going to build X number of new hospitals”.
The onus is one everyone of us to raise this with our local members, to. shift the way thinking is done by the politicians and that there is a pretty easy way to increase medicare rebates to enable bulk billing all the while reducing the cost to health care.