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Monday, 1 December 2003
Page: 23267

To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in parliament:

The petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House:

That under proposed changes to Medicare, families earning more than $32,300 a year will miss out on bulk billing, and doctors will increase their fees for visits that are no longer bulk billed;

That more that 28,500 households in Newcastle will be negatively affected by these changes;

That the rate of bulk billing by GP's in Newcastle has plummeted by 12% in the last two years under John Howard;

Nationally more than 10 million fewer GP visits were bulk billed this year compared to when John Howard came to office;

That the average out-of-pocket cost to see a GP in Newcastle who does not bulk bill has increased to $12.70 today;

That the John Hunter and Mater Hospital emergency departments are now under greater pressure because people are finding it harder to see bulk billing doctors.

We therefore ask the House to take urgent steps to restore bulk billing by general practitioners and reject John Howard's plan to end universal bulk billing so that all Australians have access to the health care they need and deserve.

by Ms Grierson (from 711 citizens)