Decision Maker Response

Bill Shorten’s response

Jun 24, 2016 — Thank you for making your voice heard on this important issue.

A Shorten Labor Government will reverse Malcolm Turnbull's cuts to bulk billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging, to make sure all Australians have access to affordable and universal healthcare.

Pathology and diagnostic imaging are integral parts of our health system.

The Liberals' $650m cuts will mean new out-of-pocket costs for x-rays, blood tests, pap smears. These are the scans for vulnerable Australians: $100 for a mammogram; $300 in diagnosis costs for a woman fighting breast cancer; over $1000 for an Aussie dealing with melanoma.

Labor will oppose Mr Turnbull’s cuts to Medicare which will reduce bulk billing and make pap smears, CAT scans, Xrays and medicines cost​ more.

Mr Turnbull's cut came in spite of the overwhelming evidence that the former Labor Government’s incentives are achieving their aim of maintaining or increasing bulk billing. In diagnostic imaging, for example, bulk billing rates rose 10 points in just six years thanks to Labor's measure.

Labor's measure gives pathologists and radiologists a specific incentive to bulk bill. Without it, bulk billing will fall, co-payments will rise, and the cost of tests and scans will go up. I'm worried some patients will end up skipping them altogether.

This would mean worse health outcomes for patients and higher costs to our health system. It is vital that patients are not turned away from care because of their ability to pay.

A Labor Government will reverse them, so vote Labor on July 2 to protect Medicare.

Thank you,
Bill Shorten MP