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Friday, 22 May 1970

Dr Everingham (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   Did he promise in 1969 policy statements that the voluntary insurance scheme would cover 90 per cent of most common medical fees.

(2)   Do general practitioner consultations produce the bulk of the medical expenses of most families.

(3)   What percentages of common fees are rebated for (a) such consultations and (b) home visits by general practitioners.

Dr Forbes - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   A figure of 90% return on medical fees was not promised during the election campaign. What was promised was that 'Commonwealth medical benefits and fund benefits will be increased so that the difference between the benefit entitlements and fees most commonly charged by doctors will not exceed $5 even for the most complicated and costly surgical procedures. For simpler procedures which are less expensive, the difference between the benefits and doctors' common fees will be very much less . . . We are aiming at the following margin between total benefit entitlements and doctors' common fees:

General Practitioner Services:

Surgery Consultations - 80 cents

Home Visits-$1. 20.

Other Services - Graduated up to $5.00. For the more costly services the margin of $5 to be met by the patient will be as low as 2% or 3% of the cost of the service'.

(2)   General practitioner consultations represented 63% of the number of services for which medical benefits were paid for the year ended 30th June 1969. As the cost of general practitioner consultations is considerably less than the cost of most other medical services, general practitioner consultations represented 35% of (he cost of all services for which medical benefits were paid for the same year.

(3)   The proportions benefits will bear to the common fees notified by the Australian Medical Association in the reconstructed medical benefits scheme are:


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