Specialist bulk-billing and safety nets need overhaul: study

A paper by researchers from the George Institute, the Menzies Centre and Sydney University’s Discipline of General Practice said poor Australians and those with chronic illness faced unfairly high healthcare cost burdens. 

Any claims to equity and fairness in Australia’s health system were undermined by the large number of people who face hardship and reduced access to treatment because of out-of-pocket healthcare costs, the submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs said.

It called for an overhaul of safety nets and offsets to ease the pressure on the needy.

Less than 4% of Extended Medicare Safety Net benefits went to 20% of the poorest members of the population, while more than 50% of benefits were distributed to the 20% most advantaged, said the submission to the inquiry into out-of-pocket costs in Australian healthcare.

“This is a policy failure – it is the poor who are most likely to