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December 5, 2021

Medicare review ‘not a savings exercise’

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The government has promised not to push ahead with any new Medicare co-payment proposals but has announced a wide-ranging review of services. (File pic)
The government has promised not to push ahead with any new Medicare co-payment proposals but has announced a wide-ranging review of services. (File pic)

Health Minister Sussan Ley insists a wide-ranging review of Medicare will not be a savings exercise.

The “industrial strength” review will investigate each of the 5500 health services offered under the Medicare Benefits Scheme, amid concerns outdated options are resulting in inefficient care.

It will also look at the system’s ability to cope with chronic disease and mental health as well as find efficiencies to shape reform.

A co-payment won’t be on the table, with Ms Ley writing the controversial measure off as “absolutely history”.

But a freeze on GP and specialist Medicare rebates will stay put for the time being while the government and two expert panels consult health professionals.

It’s not clear how much a shake-up of Medicare would return to the budget.

‘This is not a savings exercise,’ Ms Ley told ABC radio on Wednesday.

‘We know it can be a win for governments and a win for patients.’

The expert panels will report to government later in the year.

Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King questioned the government’s claim that the review would not be a cost-cutting exercise.

‘It’s pretty hard to trust this government when it comes to Medicare,’ she told ABC Radio.

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