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Bulk billing rate in further decline.

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Launceston Canberra

(03) 6334 8664 (02) 6277 4278

Michelle O’Byrne MP



BULK BILLING RATE IN FURTHER DECLINE The bulk billing rate in Northern Tasmania continued to decline in the March quarter of 2003, the Federal Member for Bass, Michelle O’Byrne said today. “The bulk billing rate for Bass for the first three months of this year was only 48.5 percent, a whopping 5 percentage points lower than at the same time three years ago,” Ms O’Byrne said. “This again demonstrates the importance of Labor’s plan to save Medicare. We cannot keep on down the path that the Howard Government is taking us. “Before long we will be exactly like the United States, where millions of families cannot afford to go to the doctor, because the system simply leaves them to their own devices.” Ms O’Byrne said that the health of all Australians and their right to be able to visit a doctor whenever they needed to, regardless of how much money they have in their pocket, are vitally important. “In Northern Tasmania it continues to be almost impossible to find a doctor who bulk bills and the figures released today show that the situation is only getting worse.” Ms O’Byrne said that Labor’s plan will encourage docto rs to bulk bill and will provide incentives for them to do so especially in areas such as Northern Tasmania. Launceston - 20th June 2003 Further information: Michelle O’Byrne 0417 379 562 Brian Roe 0438 604 571