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Thursday, 2 December 2004
Page: 126

Senator ALLISON (5:35 PM) —by leave—I move Democrat amendments (1) and (2) on sheet 4423:

(1) Schedule 1, item 1 (line 10) after “paragraph”, insert “and where those services are bulk-billed”.

Note: bulk-billed is defined in the Health Insurance (General Medical Services Table) Regulations 2004.

(2) Schedule 1, item 3 (line 19) after “to”, insert “bulk-billed”.

I do not wish to extend this debate but I wish to say that the purpose already identified in our speeches in the second reading debate is to confine the benefit—that is, the $4.60—to those consultations which are bulk-billed, in order to provide an incentive for doctors to give people access to consultations at no extra cost. As I said in my speech, we do not believe there are any incentives for doctors to either contain their fees or bulk-bill their patients, and we think it is fanciful to suggest that this extra on the rebate is going to do anything much more than go straight into the pockets of doctors. I strongly urge my colleagues in the chamber to support these amendments.