Don’t punish patients who need regular colonoscopies to suffer financially.

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I went to see my gastroenterologist recently and we discussed my upcoming colonoscopy to monitor my inflammatory bowel disease (Ulcerative Colitis) and she told me that I needed to get in before the 1st of November because that is when the government changes about Medicare-funded colonoscopies will come into effect. If I don’t get my colonoscopy before the 1st of November, I will be financially affected when I next have my colonoscopy. It doesn’t look like I can get in before the 1st, so I’ll already need to start saving for my next colonoscopy in 2 years. The government has put in place a 5 year wait for a colonoscopy, and if you require it sooner, you will be financially affected. Usually the colonoscopy is around $300, but patients like me who need the colonoscopy every 2 years will have to fork out around $2000. It is appalling for these decisions to be made for people who genuinely need to keep on top of things like nasty polyps, a long term bowel disease or even more severe conditions like cancer. What if you can’t afford to pay that large amount of money? What if cancer develops within those 5 years? Who is responsible? Help me make a stand and allow the people who have valid reasons for this procedure to not have the financial disadvantage as imposed by the government. 

According to Bowel Cancer Australia, 1 in 13 Australians will develop bowel cancer in their lifetime and 98% of bowel cancer can be treated if found early. So for the government and Medicare to pull funding, this can put people at risk. With the government extending the time between Medicare-funded colonoscopies to 5 years, maybe it will be too late for some people who may develop bowel cancer in that time! 

Here are some articles with some more info: 

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/amp.theage.com.au/national/victoria/many-patients-to-pay-1700-more-for-bowel-cancer-tests-20190925-p52uw8.html

https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/Gastroenterology-changes-to-MBS-items-for-colonoscopy-services

http://www.mbsonline.gov.au/internet/mbsonline/publishing.nsf/Content/797BE31AE62DB6F4CA258489000B715A/$File/201911-Cat2.pdf

https://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org/bowel-cancer-facts

EDIT: from what I understand, people with parents who developed bowel cancer under 56 years of age are eligible for Medicare funded colonoscopies sooner than 5 years. But if you don’t have family history, and you have a condition like mine then you are not.