AMA Report: Why Medicare Indexing Matters

Australian Medical Association President Professor Steve Robson said the AMA analyzed the indexing of the most commonly used Medicare item in general practice, the Level B consultation item, in the report. Why Medicare Indexing Matters published this week.

“Inadequate indexing has put all medical practices under pressure, especially general practices where so many patients have to be mass billed because they cannot afford out-of-pocket charges. What we found clearly illustrates why the state of general practice is so dire; why wholesale billing is under pressure; why patients are increasingly faced with higher out-of-pocket expenses and why so many practices are hitting a financial wall. said Professor Robson.

Starting in July this year, Medicare items were indexed by 1.6% despite practice costs such as salaries, rent and utilities climbing at a much higher rate. The AMA’s analysis of the Level B consultation element (the element used for consultations lasting less than 20 minutes) found that inadequate indexing “saved” the government approximately $8.6 billion. dollars over the life of the item.

“Medicare reimbursement is patient reimbursement, not doctor reimbursement, and therefore reflects what the government is willing to pay for healthcare in Australia,” Prof Robson said.

“Our analysis shows that successive governments have taken healthcare funding away from Australian taxpayers due to poor indexation and shifted the cost of care to ordinary Australians. Doctors either have to absorb the cost and risk becoming unsustainable. , or increase the costs to be borne by patients.This is not a lasting solution.

“The AMA’s Plan to Modernize Medicare campaign is calling on the government to implement a revised escalation tool to ensure reimbursements better reflect the rising costs of delivering high-quality medical care and managing of a doctor’s office.”

The AMA estimates that better indexation across the entire MBS could cost the government $4.98 billion over four years, just over half of what was taken out of one element of the MBS.

Read the AMA report Why Medicare Indexation Matters

The AMA is also continuing the #SicklySweet campaign calling for a sugary drink tax to increase the retail price of an average supermarket sugary drink by 20%. This would lead to a reduction in obesity of around 2% and 16,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes in Australia over 25 years, as stated in the AMA research report A Tax on Sugary Drinks: what the modeling shows.

See also AMA’s research report Solutions to Australia’s Chronic Wound Problem and AMA’s Plan to Modernize Medicare Campaign

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