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Wednesday, 5 May 1965

Senator McKELLAR - The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply -

1.   There is no agreement between the Australian Medical Association and the Commonwealth Government regarding the stabilization of doctors' fees. The stabilisation of fees was an internal policy initiated by the Australian Medical Association. In November 1963 the President of the Australian Medical Association advised the then Minister for Health that the Association considered that a period of two years should elapse before fees were changed.

2.   It is not possible for the Commonwealth or for the medical benefits funds, in considering tables of medical benefits, to foreshadow the future action of the Australian Medical Association in regard to the level of doctors' fees. It is quite impracticable to forecast at this stage the degree to which the relationship between the combined benefits payable and the doctors' fees may be affected by any action by the Australian Medical Association to increase fees. In considering this matter, the honorable senator should remember that, as a result of the introduction recently of higher benefit tables and the increases from 1st June 1964 in the amounts of Commonwealth benefits, there have been substantial rises in the conbined benefits paid to contributors.

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