Fremantle paying the price for Turnbull’s health cuts

Published on Tue 20 March 2018 12:13pm

People in Fremantle are struggling to afford basic health care, with Malcolm Turnbull’s Medicare freeze driving out-of-pocket costs up and forcing thousands of locals to skip care.

Shadow Health Minister Catherine King and local member for Fremantle Josh Wilson visited Cockburn Integrated Health today to hear firsthand about the impact of the Liberals’ cuts to Medicare.

Official data shows that people in Fremantle now pay an average out-of-pocket fee of $39.90 to see a GP – among the highest in the country. Fremantle residents are now paying $77 to see a specialist. These are average figures, and many patients pay much more.

Turnbull went to the last election promising no one would pay more to see a doctor – but these figures show that people in Fremantle are paying more than ever.

As a result of these fees, official Bureau of Statistics figures show that around 6,100 people in Fremantle delay or avoid seeing their GP each year due to cost. Another 10,700 locals are forced to skip specialist care.

At the same time as out-of-pocket health expenses are soaring, out-of-touch Turnbull is yet to lift any part of his Medicare freeze. Rebates for GPs, specialists and allied health services all remain frozen, and the freeze won’t be fully lifted until 2020.

As a result of this freeze, Turnbull is cutting $2.2 billion out of Medicare over the next four years – on top of the savings they have already banked.

Whether it’s making Medicare more expensive, cutting public hospitals or putting health insurance profits before patients – the Liberals can never be trusted on health.

Only Labor created Medicare, and only Labor will ensure that people in Fremantle can access the health care they deserve.

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