Medicare please fund surgeries/procedures not performable in public healthcare
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To the Honourable Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull (MP); Honourable Alan Tudge (MP), Minister of Human Services; Honourable Greg Hunt (MP), Minister for Health and Aged Care,
For the purposes of this petition, I am using Gender Affirmation Surgery as an example which pertains to me personally, however, I wish for this Petition to apply to ANY and ALL Surgical Procedures which receive a benefit through the MBS but are unavailable through the Public Healthcare System (or where a wait time of over 6 months is in effect), where an excessive fee is incurred for performing this surgery as a private patient, where it should have an equivalent Public Healthcare alternative. This includes all areas of surgery that are deemed medically necessary.
To whom it may concern,
We the undersigned hereby petition you to implement a fair system whereby individuals wishing to undergo any form of surgery as a private patient in a Private or Public Hospital or as a public patient in a public hospital, to undergo a surgery which: 1) is not available through the public healthcare system in the patient's state or within easy travel distance, and/or 2) is not available at all in Australia by any Surgeon in any state, and/or 3) has a wait time in excess of 6 months to have this surgery performed as a public patient.
Currently, Medicare is willing to cover $4,199.68 of the Surgery of Gender Affirmation. (75-85% of the fee of: 45563 NEUROVASCULAR ISLAND FLAP including direct repair of secondary cutaneous defect if performed, excluding flap for male pattern baldness; 37405 PENIS complete or radical amputation of; 37342 URETHROPLASTY single stage operation; 35565 VAGINAL RECONSTRUCTION for congenital absence, gynatresia or urogenital sinus; 30644, performed twice, EXPLORATION OF SPERMATIC CORD inguinal approach, with or without testicular biopsy and with or without excision of spermatic cord and testis on a person 10 years of age or over; 45206, performed twice, Single stage local flap if indicated to repair one defect, on eyelid, nose, lip, ear, neck, hand, thumb, finger or genitals and excluding H-flap or double advancement flap not in association with any of items 31356 to 31376) The full fee of this surgery from the MBS online resource is $5'350.70 which has an out of pocket remainder of $1,151.03.
$1,151.03 is a reasonable cost for such a procedure, however, additional out of pocket costs are added by the Surgeon and Anaesthetist which increases the cost of the surgery to approximately $17'000 for male to Female Sex Reassignment. Speaking to 2 surgeons in Australia, Dr Hans Goosen and Mr Andrew Ives, They each charge a surgeon's fee of approximately $10'000 and the anaesthetist charges approximately $4'000-$5'000.
It is fair for these surgeons to charge a fee for their services, however there should be an option for Australians to undergo the procedure in the public health system at no extra cost or, in the interim, a reimbursement scheme for Surgeons and Anaesthetists to cover their costs while handling the procedure.
I propose the following:
From a date of your choosing within a reasonable time, all procedures performed by private surgeons in Australia, which are not available through the public healthcare system, should be covered completely by medicare, save for the post benefit cost. For example, if I undergo Gender Affirmation Surgery with Dr Hans Goosen or Mr Andrew Ives, all costs, save for the $1,151.03 out of pocket fee prescribed by the MBS, is covered by medicare until qualified and experienced surgeons are hired and implemented into the public healthcare system.
Once again I repeat, I use Gender Affirmation as an example, This petition pertains to ANY and ALL Surgeries Performed as a Private Patient because a viable Public Healthcare option does not exist.
Without a program like the one proposed above, I and many like me will be unable to undergo our surgeries due to being unable to afford it resulting in a lowered quality of life.
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