Backlash over freeze on rebates

The freezing of Medicare rebates at current levels until the next indexation on 1 July 2014 is set to reap the government $644.4 million over four years.

The measure has been slammed by doctors’ groups that argue patient access will be severely impacted as practitioners are forced to increase their own fees to cover costs.

AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton said with rebate levels already set at inadequate levels, bulk-billing rates — which are at a record high level — were likely to decline sharply.