The most recent federal budget slashes bulk billing incentives for diagnostic imaging and pathology. This means that patients are likely to be charged upfront for important tests like pap smears, mammograms, x-rays and blood and urine tests. We know for women who have tight budgets this will mean putting off testing.
The result? Poorer health outcomes for lower-income women.
Women make up 60% of all GP visits in Australia. They also take on the role of ‘health care manager’ for our families, so it is women who will notice the cuts to health first.
This government has put an effective freeze on the amount the government pays GPs for their services. This has led to out of pocket expenses (via co-payments) for patients as doctors become less able to rely on bulk bilking to cover costs.
By abolishing the Child Dental Benefits scheme, this government has taken $1 billion away from Commonwealth spending on dental care.
The government has also refused to guarantee future funding to secure the Breastfeeding Helpline and the National Perinatal Depression initiative.