While the Liberal Party spent the last two weeks tearing themselves apart, a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has warned that health costs under the Liberals are spiralling out of control.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, released in the midst of the Liberal Party’s leadership crisis, completely demolished the Government’s claims around Medicare bulk billing rates and out-of-pocket costs.
After four years of the Abbott-Turnbull (and now Morrison) Medicare freeze, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report has finally laid bare the full extent of the health affordability crisis in Australia.
It showed rising out of pocket costs for Gold Coasters, with some forced to pay up to $600 a year for non-hospital health services.
It also revealed that the Gold Coast has the highest out of pocket costs in Queensland, outside of Brisbane.
Despite Turnbull’s promise that no one would pay more to see a doctor under his Government, the report shows Australians are spending nearly $30 billion on out of pocket health expenses a year.
That includes $3 billion a year Australia wide on non-hospital Medicare-subsidised services.
Nearly half of all patients on the Gold Coast have incurred out-of-pocket costs to see a GP or specialist, or to have blood tests, X-rays or other scans.
As a result of these soaring costs, thousands of Gold Coasters are either delaying or skipping seeing a doctor or getting a test when they need to – putting their wellbeing and possibly even their lives at risk.
Ten years ago, Australians paid an average out-of-pocket fee of $21 to see a GP. If that cost had increased in line with inflation, it would be around $26 today.
Instead, it’s up to $38. This is almost a $4 increase since the Liberals pre-election promise that no one would pay more to see a GP.
Out-of-pocket fees to see specialists have soared even higher, up to almost $88 – an increase of more than $12 since the 2016 election.
The report also exposes the Liberals bulk billing lies. The data shows only 66 per cent of patients are bulk billed by their GP – a far cry from the 86 per cent figure the Minister trots out on a daily basis.
This report is damning, and if the Liberal Government was actually focused on the business of governing they would have done something to address it.
But instead, they’ve spent the last two weeks jostling for positions and ignoring what people actually care about – secure jobs, well-funded schools and affordable healthcare. It is an absolute disgrace and the Gold Coast deserves better.
Let’s not forget that as the Treasurer up until Friday, Scott Morrison cut funding to our hospitals and dragged on the Medicare freeze for years. At the same time as forcing Gold Coasters to pay more for their healthcare he was offering up a $17 billion tax cut to the big banks.
The Liberal Party is more divided and dysfunctional than ever – just look at our local LNP MPs, who spent the week scheming and plotting to take down a Prime Minister.
The Gold Coast is sick of it.
One thing is for sure. No matter who is leading the Liberal Party, they will always put big business above proper health funding for the Coast.