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March 10, 2017

Queenslanders are bearing the brunt of the Turnbull Government’s cuts to Medicare and health, with bulk billing rates for GPs dropping and out of pocket costs climbing.

Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King and Senator for Queensland Murray Watt visited an Ashmore GP clinic today, to hear first-hand how the Turnbull Government’s cuts are impacting local medical care.

Queensland has unique health challenges which mean that locals simply can’t afford any more barriers to health care. Since the election, bulk billing for GPs has dropped across the state - meaning more Queenslanders are paying to see a GP.

 In addition, Queenslanders are paying 12% more under the Abbott/Turnbull Government for Medicare services, putting more pressure on the family budget.

Concerns like this are weighing heavily on Gold Coast doctors, who have only seen local health issues compound since the Abbott-Turnbull Government disastrous policies of freezing the Medicare rebate and cutting hundreds of millions from diagnostic imaging and pathology screening.

The cuts are hurting local practices across the Gold Coast, some of which will be forced to put up their fees in less than four months due to Malcolm Turnbull’s ongoing freeze.

 This places GPs in a very difficult situation and hurts Gold Coast residents in the hip pocket. It also risks sick locals putting off medical care, because they can't afford it.

Gold Coast LNP MPs need to pull their heads out of the sand and start standing up for their constituents. So far not one of them has come out against the Federal Government’s disastrous cuts to Medicare.

At the last election, Labor committed to unfreezing the Medicare rebate and reversing cuts to pathology tests and scans. This would mean GPs won’t have to make the choice between charging patients more and going out of business.

It’s time that the LNP stopped taking the Gold Coast for granted. The Federal Government needs to follow Labor’s lead and reverse cuts to Medicare.