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Tuesday, 25 November 2003
Page: 22711

Ms HALL (2:36 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Health and Ageing. I refer to the case of a Central Coast resident with cancer who visits a specialist each month for his ongoing cancer treatment. He pays $125.95 up front and he gets $58 back from Medicare. Won't this cancer patient have to make 12 visits to his specialist and 18 visits to his GP and fork out $1,000 before qualifying for the government's new band-aid safety net?

Mr ABBOTT (Minister for Health and Ageing) —I say very respectfully to the member for Shortland that the person in question will be much better off under the government's safety net, the government's MedicarePlus safety net that—

Ms Hall —What about bulk-billing?

The SPEAKER —The member for Shortland has asked her question.

Mr ABBOTT —Members opposite are saying that, under Labor, such a person would have been bulk-billed. How many cancer specialists bulk-bill? The answer is very, very few. It is precisely to address the kind of situation that people like that quite often find themselves in—

Ms Hall —He bulk-billed!

The SPEAKER —I warn the member for Shortland!

Mr ABBOTT —that we now have the Medicare Plus safety net.