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Tuesday, 9 November 1976
Page: 2435

Mr Les McMahon (SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) -Is the Minister for Health aware that some private health insurance funds intend to offer direct billing facilities to doctors who charge more than the scheduled fee? Is the Minister concerned that this practice will encourage doctors to charge excessive fees as they will receive a rebate equal to the scheduled fee from the private health funds, even if doctors charge patients a IS per cent or 20 per cent moiety in excess of this rebate? Will this practice also place Medibank at a competitive disadvantage as doctors who bulk bill Medibank receive a rebate equal to only 85 per cent of the scheduled fee?

Mr HUNT (GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Health) - I am not aware of the circumstances which have prompted the question. I would very much like to have any information which the honourable member may have at his disposal so that I can examine what is suggested in the question and take appropriate action to overcome any disability which may occur as a result of what might be bad practice.

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