Our Plan

Issue 12

Better Health Care

The Government is guaranteeing essential services Australians rely on. We are increasing funding for hospitals, medicines and Medicare.

RECORD HOSPITAL INVESTMENT

Federal funding for public hospital services under the Coalition has increased from $13.8 billion in 2013-14 to a record $22.7 billion in 2020-21 (a 64 percent increase).

This means more hospital services, more doctors and more nurses.

RECORD BULK BILLING

Under the Coalition more Australians are seeing their doctor without having to pay.

The GP bulk billing rate (as at December 2017) is 85.8% - up from 81.9% in Labor’s last year in government.

Comparing last year (2016-17), with Labor’s last year in Government, there were:

  • 21.6 million more bulk billed GP visits.
  • 1.9 million more bulk billed specialist visits.
  • 6.2 million more GP bulk billed services in rural and regional areas.

MEDICARE GUARANTEE

The Coalition Government is guaranteeing Medicare. Our Medicare Guarantee Act has guaranteed Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme with legislation. It also established the Medicare Guarantee Fund to ensure the ongoing funding of these essential services.

Proceeds from the Medicare levy (excluding the amounts set aside to fully fund the NDIS) will now be paid into the fund and topped up with a portion of income tax receipts to meet the combined cost of the Medicare Benefits Schedule and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

These amounts will be held in the Fund for the sole purpose of meeting the cost of essential health care provided under Medicare and the PBS. Each year before the Budget, the Government will ensure the fund meets forecast expenditure from the Medicare Benefits Schedule and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Over the next four years, an additional $2.4 billion is being invested into Medicare.

NEW MEDICINES

Since coming into Government, the Coalition has listed more than 1,500 new and amended medicines worth $7.5 billion.

These medicines will assist people suffering from conditions such as Heart Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Cancer, Psoriasis and severe Asthma. Some of these cost many thousands of dollars, but are now available for $6.40 (concessional) or $39.50 (general patients) per script.

For example, Imbruvica will now help around 920 leukaemia and lymphoma patients per year. Without PBS subsidy, this would cost around $180,000 per course.

NEW MEDICINE TO HELP END TRANSMISSION OF HIV

The Coalition Government is taking a critical step in helping to end the transmission of HIV infection in Australia.

From 1 April, people at medium to high risk of HIV infection with have access to PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) on the PBS.

This means up to 32,000 patients each year will pay a maximum of $39.50 per script ($6.40 for concessional patients). Without subsidy, patients would pay $2,496 per year for PrEP.

IMPROVING PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

Our focus is to keep premium rises as low as possible. This year, premiums increased by 3.95%. This was the lowest premium rise in 17 years and lower than any year under the previous Labor Government.

For the 13 million Australians who rely on private health insurance, we have taken steps to make private health insurance more affordable and easier to understand. This includes:

  • Encouraging young Australians to take up private insurance, by allowing private insurers to discount hospital insurance premiums for 18 to 29 year olds by up to 10 percent.
  • Better cover for mental health, by allowing people with hospital insurance that does not offer full cover for mental health treatment, to upgrade cover without a waiting period.
  • Enabling insurers to offer travel and accommodation benefits for treatment for people in regional and rural areas.
  • Helping Australians easily understand what they’re getting – by requiring insurers to categorise products as: gold; silver; bronze; basic, and use standardised definitions to make it clear what’s covered and what isn’t.

The Coalition is completely committed to maintaining the private health insurance rebate, which takes pressure off the public system and is relied upon by millions of Australians. Recently, Bill Shorten twice refused to rule out cutting the private health insurance rebate. They simply cannot be trusted to keep it.

MEDICAL RESEARCH

Investment in medical research is critical for providing new treatments to diseases and improving the quality of life for Australians.

We have established the Medical Research Future Fund to provide long term, sustainable funding for medical research. It already has a balance of $7 billion and is on track to reach $20 billion by 2021.

We are also providing funding of around $900 million per year to the National Health and Medical Research Council and have funded the $500 million Biomedical Translation Fund to help transform biomedical discoveries into commercial opportunities for Australian researchers.

Our new investments made this year include – fast tracking access to clinical trials for children suffering from brain cancer, medical research to reduce premature births, and research and development into medical devices to help Australians suffering from crippling lower back pain.

MENTAL HEALTH

To help the one in five Australians who experience mental health problems each year, the Coalition Government is increasing mental health funding to around $4.3 billion this year.

New funding has been provided for: community mental health; mental health research; assistance to prevent suicide at hotspot locations; Telehealth access for Psychological Services in regional areas; and support for current and former defence force personnel.

We recently launched the comprehensive Head to Health website that combines help from 26 mental health providers (including Headspace, Beyond Blue and Mind Frame) to improve access to the right help for Australians who need it.

IMMUNISATION – GARDASIL

From 2018, all 12 and 13-year-old girls and boys will have free access to the Gardasil 9 Vaccine, to protect them from the HPV virus.

This will protect Australians from cervical and other cancers and save lives.

IMMUNISATION – NO JAB, NO PAY

Our No Jab, No Pay policy means parents must immunise their children (unless there is a valid medical exemption) in order to receive their full child care and family payments.

This policy is designed to protect children and the community from preventable diseases. It has been a success, with around 210,000 extra children vaccinated in its first year.

DRUG TREATMENT AND PREVENTION

To tackle the scourge of Ice and other drugs, the Coalition Government has committed more than $685 million over four years to reduce the impact of drug and alcohol misuse.

This includes funding for: Primary Health Networks for locally based treatment; 260 new services for Indigenous communities; funding the Alcohol and Drug Foundation for 220 Local Drug Action Teams; new Medicare funding for Addiction Medical Specialists; and funding for research into new treatment options and training.

MYHEALTH RECORDS

MyHealth records – a secure, online summary of your health information – will improve care, reduce errors, avoid hospitalisations and reduce duplication.

There are over five million Australians and over 10,000 healthcare providers registered with MyHealth and all Australians will have a MyHealth Record created by the end of 2018 (unless they choose not to).

PREVENTIVE HEALTH

The Coalition Government is establishing a National Cancer Screening Register, to provide patients and doctors better reminders about when to get check-ups. This will build on Australia’s world class screening programs – including the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and the National Cervical Screening Program.

We are providing ongoing support for BreastScreen Australia, to actively invite 70-74 year old women to get breast cancer screening.

We are supporting the establishment of a state of the art Proton Beam Therapy facility in South Australia, to offer an alternative to conventional radiotherapy for certain types of cancer and help the research of Australian scientists.

We are providing funding for a Health Hearts Initiative with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and funding to the Heart Foundation to establish the Prime Minister’s Walk for Life Challenge.

Information current as at March 2018