Pathology put profits before patients, says Ley
MULTINATIONAL pathology companies, which the government believe are ‘not paying their share’, have been thrown into the spotlight after our Fair Go health story on the weekend.
Following the Saturday story about Lismore pensioner John McPherson who feared he would not be able to afford essential blood testing under plans to cut Medicare incentives, Minister for Health Sussan Ley sought to clarify with readers that Medicare rebates on pathology test would not change.
Ms Ley said, “Your Medicare rebate on pathology tests will not change and pathology providers will continue to be able to bulk bill.
“We are simply removing a poorly targeted pathology test incentives of between $1.40 and $3.40 paid directly to pathology providers, which are often largely dominated by multi-national companies, making billion dollar profits.”
The government believes the cut to pathology test incentives can be absorbed by the pathology providers.
Taxpayers have also paid over $13.8 billion to pathology providers, with just $500 million or 3% of that making up the bulk billing incentive, she said.
Yet, since 2009/10, when pathology providers receiving the bulk billing incentive, pathology bulk billing rates only increase 1%, despite their record $2 billion in profits.
However, Pathology Australia, which spearheaded the ‘Don’t Kill Bulk Bill’ campaign last week, maintain pathology providers will be ‘forced’ to ask patients to pay for tests themselves, so patients who were previously bulk billed will need to pay for tests.