MBS rebate freeze here to stay: Coalition

The freeze on MBS rebates, announced earlier this year by the then Labor government, is due to take effect from 1 November.

In previous years rebates have been increased annually on that date. However, in the May budget it was announced current rebate levels will remain until 1 July next year, saving the government $664.4 million.

Announcing the association’s updated fees list this morning, AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton said the failure to adequately index rebates over a number of years would be further compounded by the freeze.

The result would be even greater out-of-pocket expenses for non-bulk-billed patients, he said.

“The MBS simply has not kept pace with the complexity or cost of providing high quality medical services,” Dr Hambleton said.

“The difference between patients’ medical fees and Medicare rebates will be greater because of the freeze, but despite the widening gap doctors have