Why general practice needs reform

Money given to GPs from ending the Medicare rebate freeze should target reform

If the whispers are right, the Medicare rebate freeze will be partially lifted in next week’s federal budget, at a cost of half-a-billion dollarsThe Conversation

The previous Labor government introduced the freeze in 2013 as part of a A$664 million budget savings plan. The freeze, which the Coalition extended, effectively meant GPs and other medical specialists would be reimbursed the same amount for delivering health services in 2020 as they were in 2014, despite rising costs in other areas.

Many will welcome the move to lift some of the freeze because it will help reinforce bulk billing as a pillar of Australia’s health system. But it will be a wasted opportunity if the extra money that will go to GP clinics is not used to buy better general practice.