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GP bulk billing rate reaches 59.1% in Hunter.



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Senator the Hon.Sandy Macdonald Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade Deputy Leader of The Nationals in the Senate

GP BULK BILLING RATE REACHES 59.1% in Hunter

The GP bulk billing rate in Hunter has reached 59.1 per cent, an increase of 7.5 percentage points as a result of the Australian Government’s measures to strengthen Medicare.

The June quarter figures show the national GP bulk-billing rate is now 74.8 per cent. Two new records have also been set with the rate of GP bulk billing in rural areas increasing to 69 per cent and 81.8 per cent of children are now bulk billed, the highest rate since Medicare began more than 20 years ago.

The bulk-billing rate for people aged over 65 years increased to 85.5 per cent, the highest since the September quarter 1999.

“The huge increase in the GP bulk billing rate is particularly pleasing for people living in rural and remote areas where the rate has increased by 16.2 percentage points since December 2003 to set a new record of 69 per cent,” Senator Sandy Macdonald said.

“Three out of four people are now bulk billed when they visit their GP and more than 8 out of ten children and older Australians are now bulk billed.,” Senator Sandy Macdonald said.

In 2004-05, Medicare subsidised 236.3 million services, worth $9.9 billion in benefits. This represented 11.6 services and a $487.62 benefit for every Australian during the year.

There have been substantial increases to GP bulk-billing rates in all states and territories since the introduction the Howard Government’s Strengthening Medicare package.

Compared with the December 2003 quarter, the June quarter rate in NSW was up 5.3 percentage points to 81 per cent; up 13.1 points in South Australia to 73.7 per cent; up 10.7 points in Queensland to 72.4 per cent; up 8.5 points in Victoria to 72.1 per cent; up 7.8 points in Western Australia to 70.3 per cent; up 19.5 points in Tasmania to 67.9 per cent; up 1.4 points in the Northern Territory to 61.6 per cent; and up 7.2 points in the ACT to 42.1 per cent.

These statistics show the impact of the government’s bulk-billing incentive payments, under which GPs who bulk bill Commonwealth Concession Card holders and children under 16 receive an extra $5.10 or $7.65 (depending on their location).

All bulk-billing data is available at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/wcms/publishing.nsf/Content/medicare+stati stics-1 or www.hic.gov.au

Media Contact: Electorate Office (02) 6766 6998 Website: www.sandymacdonald.com.au