Sumary of We fact checked Greg Hunt on the number of people seeing the doctor for free. Here's what we found:
- Health Minister Greg Hunt has sought to defend the government’s record, arguing that more Australians were being bulk-billed by their GP than under Labor.
- On June 6, he told reporters:”That has seen 88.7 per cent of people year-to-date receive their GP services for free.
- However, Mr Hunt’s numbers relate to the proportion of GP services that were bulk billed, not patients.
- Patient numbers would be lower, as people may receive multiple medical services during a single visit, with only some being fully subsidised by the government.
- As one expert explained, bulk-billing is used more frequently by particular groups, so the rate for services could increase without necessarily benefiting additional people.
- Medicare data for the first nine months of each financial year show that between March 2013 and March 2021, the bulk-billing rate for services increased from 82.0 per cent to 88.7 per cent.
- Bulk-billing of services is not the same as bulk-billing of patients.
- However, it’s less clear what credit the government can take for the years prior to 2020.Under the Coalition, the bulk-billed services rate grew by progressively smaller amounts in every year from 2014. Between 2015 and 2019, the same can be said for the share of fully bulk-billed patients.