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    Great article, and timely. When a GP found my cancer in 2007 she pushed me straight towards a very expensive breast surgeon, who ‘only works in the private sector’. This surgeon ordered the following tests before any surgery, with no symptoms of cancer spread beyond the breast – CT with contrast chest, abdo, pelvis, nuclear med bone scan, liver ultrasound and chest X ray. I was left $800 out of pocket (with no up front quote). Medicare was left with hundreds of dollars in costs. The usefulness of these tests, according to public oncologists? Nil. In fact ‘Best Practice Guidelines’ actually recommend against them. Subsequent investigations revealed that private doctors over service, over prescribe tests and unnecessarily admit private patients to private hospitals. The penalties for their misuse of tax payers money? Nil. Their personal profits for giving pathology clinics and private hospitals easy money? One can only wonder. And the Liberal Government’s response to reports by Private Health Insurers about excess prices and sub standard clinical standards? Bury the information.

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    Rocket Rocket

    I think it is unlikely the Coalition will get rid of the means test on the private health insurance rebate – they have been backpedalling on this ever since announcing it.

    Over the last few years I have noticed many new pathology and radiology “shopfronts” here in Melbourne – the majority of the radiology ones loudly proclaiming they are bulk-billing. It would appear that we are currently experiencing a “boom” in these two industries, but it does make you wonder whether all these tests and scans are necessary (or is everyone much sicker than they were 10 years ago?).

    And “free” at point-of-sale to the consumer does not mean “free” when they pay their tax and Medicare surcharge.


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