Medicare and Your Health

Under the former Liberal Government it became harder and cost more to see a doctor.

The results of deliberately running down Medicare and general practice end up in the local hospital – with people presenting at emergency departments because they have no alternative.

Almost a decade of Liberal neglect means that primary care is in crisis, particularly in outer suburbs and regional and rural communities.

Demand for healthcare is skyrocketing – we need more GPs, and better access to other health care professionals. Without this, it is going to get even harder to see a GP, and the fees you pay once you do get in will be even higher. And it is only through fixing primary care that we will take the pressure off our hospitals.

Australia is experiencing a severe shortage of GPs in outer-metro and regional areas. People are struggling to see a doctor and waiting months for appointments.

In 2019, Scott Morrison’s government made a bad situation worse by making more cuts – cuts that meant some regions of Australia are now banned from hosting the overseas trained doctors and doctors in the bonded medical program that once served their communities.

Now, practices are closing or sitting empty because they can’t find GPs, yet they’re told by the Morrison Government they can’t recruit doctors the same way they used to.

This is irresponsible at the best of times – but cutting off GP access during a global pandemic and a GP crisis is inexcusable.

All Australians deserve access to universal, prompt, and world class medical care, and no one deserves to face a multi-year wait for vital treatments simply due to the cost.

Cutting Medicare was in the former Liberals Government's DNA. You can never trust the Liberals on Medicare.

Labor built Medicare and we will always protect it.

Making it Easier to See a Doctor

Labor will deliver at least 50 Medicare Urgent Care Clinics, to take pressure off our emergency departments.

Medicare Urgent Care Clinics will make it easier for Australian families to see a doctor or a nurse when they have an urgent, but not life threatening, need for care. Medicare Urgent Care Clinics will bulk bill, meaning there will be no out-of-pocket costs.

Medicare Urgent Care Clinics will be based in existing GP clinics and Community Health Centres and provide bulk billed services delivered by doctors and nurses – in every state and territory.

This includes treating sprains and broken bones, stitches and glue for cuts, wound care, insect bites, minor ear and eye problems, and minor burns. All important and time-critical treatments that don’t need a hospital emergency department.

Labor will also:

  • change the rules to allow regional and outer metro communities to recruit more doctors of their choosing – both locals and overseas trained GPs.
  • expand the newborn screening program, increasing the number of screened conditions from around 25 to 80.
  • improve pandemic preparedness and response by establishing an Australian Centre for Disease Control. 

Labor built Medicare. Australians know they can trust us to keep Medicare safe and strong, and to put the health of our people first.

Current at June 2022