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Weakening Medicare

::  Destroying and Killing Medicare



This web site contains detailed information for the Australian Public about how they will be systematically stripped of Medicare and pay for the pleasure.

The Government has made law that any Medical Doctor (Dr.) who breaks a contract with the Government can no longer receive Medicare rebates, for a period of typically 12 years

The contracts are forced upon medical students (the new 234 medical places the Government keeps talking about plus the 100 Medical rural bonded scholarships). These students have no choice if they want to study medicine but to take the contracts and the terms are made so harsh that the majority will be forced to break the contract. For example the medical Dr. is forced to go to a remote area for 6 years when at the age of 28 - 35. Are Dr's going to do this, with their family, social and community commitments, built over 15 years ? No.

Would you up and move your family with young children, to a unknown remote rural community without family, friends, social support or professional support, to be on call 24 hours a day? No.

This means that you the health consumer, cannot use your Medicare card with these Australian Qualified DR's Your tax dollars trained them, supported the hospitals, and the Government coffers are made full by your Medicare levy, but that green Medicare card will be useless as not one of these DR's can legally use your Medicare card. It is an offence if they do!

You will have to pay the whole amount in cash, this is more than the end of bulk billing this is the end of any form of rebate at 20% of all medical Dr's

20% of all medical students are now bonded this means about a 20% reduction to the medical workforce just to start with.

These DR's will be forced overseas to make a living, where the ageing population will make their high quality skills, which you paid for indispensable to other countries.

You can use your Medicare card at the remaining vastly limited and declining number of Dr.'s, but it will mean that you will wait and wait and wait, until you are so ill, that you will pay the whole amount of your consultation to any Doctor if they have not already been forced offshore. You will probably just have to wait and die from otherwise preventable conditions.

The Government is weaning the Australian public off Medicare, but still takes the levy.

The trend

In the Mid 1990's the Liberal Government made it harder to get provider numbers, as only "specialists" could have provider numbers based on the specious argument this would improve standards. Thus a large percentage of qualified Medical DR's who do not get a specialty-training place cannot serve you in the private practice and receive the Medicare Card rebate. The Government deliberately under funds specialty training so it does not have to pay out from your levy!

At this time a G.P. was also redefined as a 'specialist', forced into more training but not paid accordingly. Thus a bottle neck was introduced into becoming a GP by limiting specialist training positions and making being a G.P less attractive, through much lower pay levels than other specialties. The Government achieved less return of your Medicare levy, as there are now less G.P.'s [less services money] and this means less people get referred into the medical system for treatment [more savings on services money by Government]. This withholds the money you gave as Medicare levy payers and tax payers for other uses, for example questionable wars, and massive *health care advertisement*, "free re-election campaign's".

As a result of the "specialization" of the GP and the real shortages of G.P's, we now see the emergency services at hospitals are now so frequently overloaded as these effects are felt in our health system.

In 2001 then there was the Medical Rural bonded scholarship scheme, because the rural areas needed more DR's The terms are so harsh and training places are so under funded that the Government will save billions in medical services. Note there has been no commitment to more training places.

The Government is not fixing the problem by putting Government departments, or key infrastructure in rural Australia to attract a diversity of people and industry, they will try to force DR's to rural Australia, because it saves billions in Medicare services and is a high profile political move. This is like putting a band aid on cancer, and pretending it will all be all right. Our small towns are dying through lack of opportunity not lack of DR's But do our Government bodies want to go bush? No!

Now the Government is introducing the scheme for outer metropolitan areas, more medical students our future Dr.'s forced into contracts which they will breach. Or fight long legal battles on constitutional grounds. It will not matter if the DR's win because the Government will not have budgeted for payment and thus not meet payments anyway. They will then try to blame the courts, for upholding the constitution and opposing discrimination.

The next step is and will increasingly be the inner metropolitan areas. In fact this is already here.

Everyone has experienced the waiting time just to see a GP You wait and wait and wait as you suffer. Seeing a specialist, forget it!

Shortages are everywhere now.


The Government wins twice! You suffer twice.

  1. The Government pays less and less in out goings [billions] because there are numerically less DR's who can get the Medicare rebate and one Dr. can only physically see a fixed maximum number of patients per day. This has the flow on effect of less referrals to specialists and thus treatment. Again less return of your Medicare levy as people are stopped from seeing the GP , the gateway to Medical services. Many Australian DR's in these schemes will be forced offshore to make a living, as the law, through Policy stops them making a living.

  2. The Government "looks" good because it is "forcing" [*providing*] DR's to rural areas and "creating" more medical school places.

The Government has claimed that these students have signed a contract and should thus honor the terms of the contract. However, there is documented evidence that if students leave the contract without penalty or breach even though they have completed more than half of their studies the Medical schools are threatened by the Government to get rid of the student[s] by severe funding cuts. There is no law passed for this action it is just "policy".

This is how your Government is treating people who want an education, to help others.


The People's Voice, the Constitution.

You the people have spoken in The Australian Constitution. s 51 (xxiiiA) of the Commonwealth Constitution following the successful referendum of 1946. It gave the Federal Parliament power, subject to the Constitution, to make laws with respect to:

The provision of maternity allowances, widows’ pensions, child endowment, unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental services (but not so as to authorize any form of civil conscription), benefits to students and family allowances.

There cannot be "any form" of "civil conscription" for medical services, which these contracts are. Thus the scheme is illegal. You, the people of Australia did not want DR's with financial guns to head to be treating patients, but independent professionals.


The Governments own health minister says "Unconstitutional".

During the 1998 Federal Election, the then Minister for Health and Ageing the Hon Michael Wooldridge made statements to the effect that proposed scheme was unconstitutional.


Your Tax where did it go?

Every week you see your Medicare levy what are you getting for it? Less.

The Commonwealth who has just spent your taxes in order of $130 million in this Medicare blitz to save billions in real service provision and get re elected.


A fairer solution

We agree with more DR's where they are needed but they should have choice to be there on free terms, not under threat, duress, blackmail and coercion. With positive incentives, surprisingly, usually of the financial nature DR's will go. Australians do not want to be treated by Dr's under Duress, how can we expect standard treatment from people who are forced into places they don't want to be? Health is to important for anything less than 100% commitment on the job. But the Government does not want to pay what the Rural areas are worth. In many rural areas there are not enough people to support a basic wage, there needs to be a subsidy if we value healthcare to remote areas.

The Government could place Government departments to rural areas to create infrastructure and jobs, but they don't want to go, its all talk. Rather they withdraw real infrastructure that promotes growth, such as selling the rest of telstra.

The Government says that these students are lucky, otherwise they could not have studied medicine. The money is obviously there because they are studying (especially considering the $130 million just spent in advertising). These students are typically discriminated against on the basis of a 30 minute interview. The Students pass all the objective written exams but then a subjective interview is used as the mechanism to say, you can't be a Doctor.

But wait, if you take a contract you can spend the next 15 years of your life doing all the same exams as every other medical student and training DR's, but that interview means your still second class. This is the mechanism used to force people whose desire is to serve the community in a most fundamental way to take these contracts.

If these students really are *2nd* class then despite 15 years of medical education and exams the Government is defrauding the Rural Areas and outer metropolitan areas by sending them 2nd class DR's

If these DR's are not second class [and 15 years of medical training suggest they are not] the medical students are being unjustly discriminated against.

A fair way to run the selection is to give all students a normal medical place, then offer them the option of a bonded place so they have free choice about which place to take with no duress or coercion. It is quite obvious that it would be irrational to take a bonded place if offered a non bonded place.

Each week a 1000 more people come to Sydney alone. Urbanization is a phenomenon of our times. Presently there is about 1 GP for every 400 people , this means we need two extra medical places a week just to keep up with this influx, that is 200 a year! You can quickly see how this policy is diametrically opposed to the reality of the population shift. This partially a result of increasing automation of rural jobs.

We observe that Australia has just been spared untold suffering of millions currently 'enjoyed' in the USA through artificially high drug prices, largely through the effort of your Opposition leader Mr. Latham, and the Australia fair go attitude of Justice at Law and not abuse of Law through "evergreening". Your Prime Minster, however was forced kicking and screaming all the way. We also note that Mr. Latham believes in competition. When asked how to solve Dr. shortages, he said, "We will make more DR's". This is the only sure way to lower prices, improve quality and access is by increased competition.

Will young people be stopped from leaving rural areas by putting Dr.'s there? Will this save Australian farmers saved from shocking Government water planning, and under funding for sustainable land management? Will this make up for the deals with trading partners that destroy Australian farmers by unfair subsidy and protection allowed to trading partners? These policies directly destroy rural areas, conveniently where the Dr's will be forced to go, and so less is paid out of the medicare levy.

People need job opportunity. They are forced to move to the cities. Rural Dr.'s policy do not create significant job opportunity for rural communities. Just score cheap political points for the Government. It is to late to save many rural communities because of decades of neglect. Many of the small towns that Bonded Dr.'s will be forced to will find the population will be insufficient to make a basic living a wage in any event.

Even the Government policy acknowledges this, it forces unemployed to cities as rural areas are defined as areas of low job opportunity.

The Government knows that it is on to a good thing. It knows that it has created the perfect vehicle to get votes and your keep your money for its own election campaigns and wars launched on lies.

It's your vote, you can chose to remove those who have made these self interested unworkable, illegal, unconstitutional policies, that will deny you all, rural and urban, the health services you have paid for and continue to pay for.




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