Early bird Queensland voters can today vote to stop increasing health care costs and the destruction of Medicare.
Queensland unions held an event outside the Brisbane city pre-poll centre to remind voters about increased costs for basic medical tests if the LNP is re-elected.
Pre-poll voting opens today across Australia.
Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan said in some Queensland electorates, more than one in three voters voted before election day.
“That’s why we will be outside pre-poll centres throughout Queensland from today with our message to ‘Put the LNP Last’.”
“Queenslanders we’ve spoken with are especially concerned about what the LNP plans for Medicare.”
She said a ReachTEL poll earlier this year shows almost 70 per cent of Queenslanders oppose reductions in bulk-billing for services like pap smears, blood tests and x-rays.
“These are important, sometimes life saving medical tests, that we all need, often regularly, during our life time and any attempt to make it harder for Queenslanders to access them is not only irresponsible, it’s also potentially dangerous, “ she said.
Many patients will have to pay for blood tests, pap smears, X-rays and other scans for the first time this year when the Abbott-Turnbull LNP government axes the incentive it pays providers to bulk bill patients.
The pathology industry has warned patients could face charges of around $20 for a blood test when bulk billing ends.
Scans will leave patients with even higher out of pocket expenses.
An X-ray will cost the patient up to $56 out of pocket, an ultrasound could cost up to $101, a CT scan $145 and an MRI $173 says the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association.
Worse still patients, apart from children and pensioners, could have to pay the full fee upfront (up to $400 for an MRI) for these scans and wait to claim their Medicare rebate.
At present nearly 9 out of 10 pathology tests and 7 out of 10 scans are bulk billed.
The Turnbull LNP government has also floated plans to sell off the Medicare claims and payments system, opening the door to privatisation of our public health system across the board.