Rising Healthcare Costs Force Australians to Delay Medical Care

Rising Healthcare Costs Force Australians to Delay Medical Care

Tyler Breen, a Perth resident, suffers from a debilitating gut condition that hinders his ability to work. The loss of income and rising living costs have forced him to postpone medical appointments. He recently pleaded with his doctor to bulk-bill a consultation due to financial hardship.

According to Dr. Damian Zilm, a WA GP, government subsidies for bulk-billing have excluded many struggling with cost-of-living pressures. This has led to increased patient delays in seeking care, resulting in long-term health consequences that ultimately cost the healthcare system more.

Statistics show that over 1.2 million people in Australia did not visit a GP in the past year due to financial concerns, with young adults (25-34 years) being particularly vulnerable. Rohan Grant-Dawes, a Sydney resident with ulcerative colitis, has resorted to alternative treatments because of the high medical costs, including a $500 prescription he deemed unjustifiable.

Dr. Zilm believes Medicare rebates need to keep pace with inflation to ensure affordability of GP consultations. The Royal Australian College of GPs has advocated for a 20% increase in the Medicare rebate for extended consultations in the upcoming budget. The government has stated that it will consider this proposal during the budget process.