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Monday, 1 September 2014
Page: 9354

Lalor Electorate: Health Care

(Question No. 253)

Ms Ryan asked the Minister for Health, in writing, on 17 July 2014:

(1) Is he aware that in the electoral division of Lalor there is a General Practitioner bulk billing rate of 93.5 per cent, and that Lalor families access bulk billing services more than 1.5 million times each year. (2) Can he advise if the Government has a figure, or an estimated figure, for what the additional out of pocket costs to residents in Lalor will be as a result of the additional co-payments announced in the 2014-15 budget. (3) Can he guarantee that the General Practitioner bulk billing rate will not fall during his term in Government.

Mr Dutton: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) My Department provides me with information about bulk billing rates across Australia. This includes information about the bulk billing rates for Lalor.

(2) It is not possible to estimate future out of pocket costs for residents in Lalor as all General Practitioners (GPs) are currently able to set their own fees and this will continue after 1 July 2015 when the Budget measure comes into effect.

(3) The Government has no authority to control the amount that GPs charge for their services, which also means that no guarantee can be provided about whether GP bulk billing rates will rise or fall in any electorate, including that of Lalor.