26 September 2016

Malcolm Turnbull’s latest attack on Medicare will see processing times blow out and people turned away from making Medicare claims at Centrelink offices.

Federal member for Blair Shayne Neumann said leaked reports from Centrelink whistle blowers indicate that face-to-face Medicare claims processing will completely cease in Centrelink offices, forcing people in Ipswich and the Somerset Region onto ballooning postal and online claim queues.

“This move will hurt the most vulnerable people in our region,” Mr Neumann said.

“Those who have complex care needs, who are undergoing expensive medical treatments, and those who do not have access to home computers, let alone reliable internet, are the ones who will be hit the hardest.

“And we know those people are largely older people, the unemployed, people in rural areas along with those battlers who cannot afford the out of pocket expenses for weeks at a time.

“Malcolm Turnbull simply doesn’t get the financial pressure that everyday Australians are under.

“Delays in rebates for some families could be the difference between putting food on the table and paying a bill. Others will put off seeing a doctor altogether.”

The leaked Centrelink documents revealed the Turnbull Government has outsourced processing to new centres and closed Medicare shopfronts, forcing many locals onto ballooning postal and online claim queues.

“Malcolm Turnbull is already making health care even more unaffordable for those who need it most.

“His extension of the Medicare freeze and cuts to bulk billing for pathology and diagnostic imaging further will drive up out-of-pocket costs.

“And now Malcolm Turnbull is making it harder to claim the Medicare rebate, and longer to receive it.

“These are barriers our health system cannot afford– as a recent study showed, many people with chronic health conditions are already being forced to forgo treatment because of the costs of medications and appointments.

“Malcolm Turnbull has learnt nothing from the election. As long as the Liberals are in Government, Medicare will never be safe.”