Strengthening Medicare

Strengthening Medicare Main Image

Making it Easier to See a Doctor

The Albanese Labor Government has delivered 58 Medicare Urgent Care Clinics, including five in Canberra, to take pressure off our emergency departments.

Medicare Urgent Care Clinics (UCCs) across the country are delivering on the Government’s commitment to make it easier for thousands of Australians to see a doctor or nurse for urgent care, while diverting patients from hospital emergency departments.

Since the first Medicare UCC opened in June 2023, there have been over 130,000 visits to clinics across the country.

Medicare UCCs are open seven days a week, extended hours and offer walk-in care that is fully bulk billed.

Medicare UCCs are providing urgent care to people who need it, especially after hours when patients would otherwise have no choice but go to the emergency department for urgent care.

Across all Medicare UCCs, the largest proportion of patients have been children, with approximately 1 in 3 visits from someone under 15 years old.

One in three visits have taken place on the weekend.

Of visits taking place during weekdays, almost 1 in 5 have taken place at 6pm or later.

Medicare UCCs are delivering on the Albanese Government’s election commitment to establish a network of clinics to give patients better access to high quality and convenient health care.

The Albanese Labor Government has also made it easier to see a bulk billing GP by tripling the bulk billing incentive.

Bulk billing is the beating heart of Medicare and after nine years of cuts and neglect by the former government, we know it’s never been harder or more expensive to see a GP, especially in Canberra. That’s why the Albanese Government is tripling the bulk billing incentive–the largest ever increase in the 40-year history of Medicare.

This historic investment will help over 5 million children and their families to see a bulk billed GP. It will also support more than 7 million pensioners and concession card holders-some of the most vulnerable people in the community, who rely on their GP visits being bulk billed. Together, these groups account for 3 out of every 5 visits to the GP.

Already, medical peak bodies have called this a “game-changer” and GPs right around the country have said this will help them maintain and even shift back to bulk billing.

We’ve also increased rebates more in a single year than the former government did in seven years. On top of increasing the investment in bulk billing, we are investing in a $1.5 billion indexation boost to every single Medicare rebate which increases the amount that your doctor receives for every single Medicare service, reducing the pressure on GPs to charge you more to get the healthcare you need.

We are committed to making it more affordable for you and your family to get the care you need in your community.

The Albanese Government is investing a further $2.2 billion into reforms that will strengthen Medicare into the future, including payments for GPs to grow their teams, new rebates for longer consults, money to provide better wound care, easier access to telehealth and much more.

Cutting the Cost of Medicines

Millions of Australians are saving on prescriptions under the Albanese Labor Government.

Labor committed to cut the cost of medications by reducing the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) co-payment and Australians have been benefiting from cheaper medicines since it was delivered on 1 January 2023. The current maximum PBS co-payment is $31.60 per script, down from a maximum of $42.50 per script when we came to government.

The Albanese Labor Government is also delivering its 60 Day Prescription Dispensing policy. This policy is allowing hundreds of common medicines to be purchased and dispensed in two months’ quantities–in the first three months of 60-day prescribing we saw 1.2 million 60-day scripts issued, saving patients more than $9 million.

At least 6 million Australians are prescribed medicines which are eligible for 60-day prescribing–saving them money, time, and meaning fewer visits to their GP to get the medicine they use the most. This will save patients $1.6 billion over the next four years and is freeing up GP services.

Costs of living are soaring with many Australians cutting back on essentials to make ends meet. They are being forced to choose between filling prescriptions for potentially life-saving medicines, and providing food and shelter for their families.

The Albanese Labor Government will keep the costs of medications down and ease some of the cost-of-living pressures that Australians are facing.