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Tuesday, 21 August 1984
Page: 81

(Question No. 918)

Senator Macklin asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 30 May 1984:

(1) Are people in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania receiving higher rebates from Medicare than people in Queensland even though everyone pays a 1 per cent levy on taxable income; if so, why.

(2) Is the Minister for Health aware of a recent survey that found 76 per cent of Queensland doctors are charging above the schedule fees and the higher premium.

(3) Will the Minister give an assurance that Queenslanders will not be discriminated against and that a standard rebate will apply.

Senator Grimes —The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Medicare rebates are calculated as a standard 85 per cent of schedule fees with a maximum patient contribution of $10 in all States. Schedule fee differentials between States do exist for many items of service in the medical benefits schedule and have their origin in a list of common fees submitted by the Australian Medical Association in 1970 as being fair and reasonable. Some of the original fee differences have been reduced or eliminated by past independent fee enquiries and by the adoption of recommendations by committee established to facilitate an ongoing review of the medical benefits schedule.

(2) No. However, the reverse is the case. Statistics on benefits being paid by Medicare indicate that more than three quarters of the services rendered in Queensland are being charged at or below the Schedule fee.

(3) I have initiated a major review of the medical benefits schedule and the question of further moves towards uniform schedule fees will be considered in this review. I hope to be in a position to announced details of the review shortly.