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Wednesday, 17 November 2004
Page: 1

To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate assembled in parliament:

The petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the Senate:

that under the government's changes to Medicare, only people with concession cards and children under 16 will be eligible for the bulk billing incentive and doctors will increase their fees for visits that are no longer bulk billed;

that the rate of bulk billing by GPs has plummeted from 80 percent to 68 percent under John Howard;

that's more than 10 million fewer GP visits were bulk billed this year compared to when John Howard came to office;

that the average out-of-pocket cost to see a GP who does not bulk bill has gone up since 1996 to $14.92 today;

that public hospitals are now under greater pressure because people are finding it harder to see bulk billing doctors.

We therefore pray that the Senate takes urgent steps to restore bulk billing by general practitioners and reject John Howard's plan to end universal bulk billing so all Australians have access to the health care they need and deserve.

by Senator Webber (from 9 citizens).