An Australian group is calling on the Coalition to unfreeze vital radiology rebates for services such as x-rays and cancer diagnosis and treatment scans.
An Australian group is calling on the Coalition to unfreeze vital radiology rebates for services such as x-rays and cancer diagnosis and treatment scans. Rob Williams

Group targets Capricornia over high price of Medicare freeze

A FREEZE on life-saving radiology service rebates is costing Capricornia patients more than they can afford.

"Medicare. Ignore it and it will go away” is ringing across the electorate's TV sets as the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association targets regional Queensland in its latest campaign.

The association claims one in three regional Queenslanders need access to life-saving radiology services every year, and are likely to require more than one service per visit.

The state's average gap for services - which include X-rays and scans critical to diagnose and treat cancer - is now $94 and the average upfront costs are $216. But the association claims a 20-year freeze on rebates for radiology means more than 46,800 Queenslanders are forgoing access to these services because they can't afford it.

"Before the last federal election, the Coalition promised to end the freeze at the same time it ends the GP rebate freeze on July 1, but it has not kept its promise,” a spokesman said.

In response, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the Federal Government's last budget included an extra $2 billion investment in diagnostic imaging over the next decade.

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry. Leighton Smith

"The agreement with the diagnostic imaging sector was either to keep the bulk billing incentive or to re-index,” she said.

"We are retaining the bulk billing incentive and indexing targeted diagnostic imaging services including mammography, fluoroscopy, CT scans and interventional procedures from July 1, 2020 - for the first time since 2004.”



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