Illawarra MP Stephen Jones has slammed the Federal Government’s decision to scrap bulk billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging.
Mr Jones said the mid-year Budget decision – to come into effect on July 1, 2016 – would result in some patients avoiding vital tests which could detect life-threatening conditions including cancer. He said the scrapping of the incentives and other cuts would leave some patients between $62 and $173 worse off.
‘’This decision came completely out of the blue and caught health professionals off guard,’’ Mr Jones said.
‘’We already know that many patients make difficult decisions each week on which prescriptions they can afford to fill – now they’ll have to choose whether they can afford to get a blood test or an x-ray.’’
Mr Jones and Labor candidate for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, visited Southern IML Pathology in Kiama on Tuesday. ‘’We know that there’s a high incidence of chronic disease such as diabetes on the South Coast, so this region will be hard hit by these changes,’’ he said.