The problem with ‘record-high’ bulk billing rates

the challenge of statistics and the reality of access to care.

Doctor's bag

The problem with 'record-high' bulk billing rates

According to government data, bulk billing rates are at an all-time high: around85% of GP services are bulk billed. This figureis often used to justify the lack of investment in general practice, includingthe freeze on Medicare rebates patients get back after a visit to their family doctor.

Why is this figure so high? Not surprisingly, the issue ismore complex than politicians want us to believe.

According to the government it is a matter of supply and demand. In other words, they claim that GPs willnot be able to introduce a fee because their patients would go to a bulk billing practice down the road.

This argument, as well as the government’s focus on record-high bulk billing figures, is misleading and doesn’t tell the whole story.

The truth about BBrates

The reality is that we don’t exactly know why bulk billing levels arehigh.There are several possible explanations, such as:

  • GPs…

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