Strengthening Medicare

To ensure Australians can get the primary health care they need

Historic investment in Medicare

Strengthening Medicare

Medicare is the foundation of Australia’s primary health care system. In this Budget, the Government is investing $5.7 billion over 5 years from 2022‑23 to strengthen Medicare and make it cheaper and easier to see a doctor.

In this Budget, the Government is tripling the incentive paid to GPs to bulk bill consultations for families with children under 16 years, pensioners and Commonwealth concession card holders, at a cost of $3.5 billion – the largest investment in bulk billing incentives ever. The tripling of the bulk billing incentive applies to:

  • all face‑to‑face general practice consultations more than 6 minutes in length
  • all telehealth general practice services which are between 6 and 20 minutes in length (Level B consultations)
  • longer telehealth general practice consultations where a patient is registered with their GP through MyMedicare

Health care for the 21st Century

Last year the Government asked the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce to identify the highest priority areas of reform for the primary care sector.

This Budget delivers the Government’s initial response to the recommendations of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce.

Foundational reform to Medicare

Increasing access to primary care with coordinated teams

To ensure Australians can continue to access the health care they need when they need it, the Government is providing:

  • $445.1 million over 5 years to enable GPs to have nurses and allied health professionals working with them in cooperation for better care
  • $143.9 million over 2 years to encourage GPs to stay open for longer hours
  • $98.9 million over 4 years to connect frequent hospital users to general practices to receive comprehensive, multidisciplinary care in the community
  • $79.4 million over 4 years to support Primary Health Networks to commission allied health services to improve access to multidisciplinary care for people with chronic conditions in underserviced communities.

To recognise the important role of nurse practitioners and participating midwives in the delivery of health care services, the Medicare rebate for a standard consultation with nurse practitioners will increase.

The Government will also invest in new services to help homeless people and culturally and linguistically diverse communities to access primary care.

Digital systems to drive better care

To lift health outcomes the Government is investing $824.4 million in digital health, including to modernise the My Health Record system and fund other digital health initiatives. This will provide health professionals the digital and data tools needed to provide improved and more co‑ordinated care.

The Government is also introducing the MyMedicare system to strengthen the relationship between doctors and their patients and produce better continuity of care. In time, MyMedicare will also be extended to nurse practitioners and other primary care providers.

Supporting the medical and health workforce

The health workforce is our primary care system’s greatest asset and the Government is investing:

  • $50.2 million over 4 years to establish the Primary Care and Midwifery Scholarships program, supporting registered nurses and midwives in post‑graduate study to improve their skills
  • $31.6 million over 2 years for improved training arrangements for international medical students working rural and remote locations.

Health protection and prevention

Reducing the prevalence of vaping and smoking 

The Government is providing $63.4 million for national public health campaigns, $141.2 million to expand the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program, and $29.5 million to increase and enhance supports to quit.

The Government is also proposing stronger regulation and enforcement of e‑cigarettes, including new controls on their importation, contents and packaging.

The Government is encouraging smokers to quit by raising the tax on tobacco by 5 per cent each year for 3 years from 1 September 2023 and ensuring that loose leaf tobacco is taxed equally to cigarettes.

A new, national lung cancer screening program

The Government is investing $263.8 million over 4 years (and up to $101.1 million per year ongoing) to establish and maintain a national lung cancer screening program. The program will maximise prevention and early detection for at‑risk Australians.

Establishing the Australian Centre for Disease Control

The Government is providing $91.1 million to commence the establishment of the Australian Centre for Disease Control.

The Centre will provide a national focal point for disease management to improve our ability to respond to health emergencies and other public health challenges.

Stamping out silicosis

There has been a recent and alarming spike in the number of workers suffering from silicosis and other silica‑related diseases. The Government is acting to protect workers by implementing and coordinating a strategy with all Australian governments to prevent these debilitating diseases.

Michael is 52 and quit smoking 5 years ago. He doesn’t have any symptoms but is worried about the toll smoking has taken on his health. His father and grandmother died of lung cancer.

Michael will be able to get a free lung scan every 2 years, increasing his chances of any cancer being detected and treated early.

Michael may also be able to access his scan in mobile screening services, which will be available for some First Nations communities and those living in smaller rural towns.

Man with 2 dogs playing with a ball

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