Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Gap back flip.

Download WordDownload Word








Gap Back Flip!


The Government’s latest private health insurance (PHI) brainwave has two clear of advantages over the failed $600m rebates:

* it will only waste one-third as much mone y; and

* it means the Government has back-flipped on its earlier policy of deliberately increasing gaps .


The astonishing thing about this proposal is that the $200 million a year will not treat one extra patient.


The proposal will guarantee an increase in medical fees to the new ‘floor price’ of 125% MBS, but it will not allow funds to offer a guarantee of “no gaps” to their members.


The new ‘floor price’ will not remove gaps for most private hospital episodes because MBS figures show that the average fee charged by anaesthetists for their two-and-a-half million private operations was 34% above the MBS . [Dec Qtr 1997]


Having increased gaps for two years, the penny finally seems to have dropped for John Howard that out of pocket gaps are as big a problem as premium increases.


In the 1996 Budget the John Howard slashed Medicare rebates for knee surgery, eye surgery, appendicectomies, prostatectomies, assistance at operations and anaesthetics.


In all, the Government slashed more than $130 million from Medicare rebates, increasing medical gaps for patients by up to $100.


This will be just another private health proposal that Dr Wooldridge fearfully floats and then hastily withdraws. It would be nice if the next attempt could at least treat one extra patient.



21 July 1998


Contact:  Michael Lee 02 6277 4221, Parliament House Mobile 0417 277 477