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Consumer, community groups speak out on Medicare

26 February, 2015

Health Minister Sussan Ley has held constructive talks with consumer and community groups in Canberra about the best ways to protect Medicare for the long-term.

Ley said she had been consulting on the ground in communities across Australia to ensure the Government gathered a broad range of views.

Ley thanked all those who attended for their positive contributions and said the recent meeting was part of the Government's commitment to ensuring the views of patients were heard.

"It's clear we're all on the same page when it comes to ensuring we value the importance of general practice and other health services," Ley said.

"This Government is also committed to maintaining high-quality care and treatment and protecting bulk billing for concession card holders and the vulnerable and this was high on the agenda.

Doing nothing is 'not an option'

"However, with over 70 per cent of Medicare-eligible medical services provided to non-concessional patients now being bulk billed, doing nothing is not an option.

"I appreciate the honesty, pragmatism and enthusiasm of all at the table about the challenges facing the future of Medicare and the opportunities to address them and I look forward to continuing to consult with patients.

"This is essential if we're to put forward a plan to protect Medicare for the long-term that has the broad support of health professionals, patients and parliamentarians alike."

Ley said she also continued to discuss the importance of ensuring those who have the means to do so could make a modest contribution towards the cost of their own care and treatment in her consultations.

Ley said the groups attending the meeting represented a large number of individual member organisations between them from a variety of health, consumer and welfare policy areas.

Ley held a similar meeting in Sydney on Wednesday last week with key doctor and medical representatives, as well as attending local forums and meetings with hundreds of health professionals and other representatives across the country over the past month. 

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