The government was keen to assure Australians that there will be better certainty when it comes to health funding, with the Budget seeing a $10 billion allocation re-invested over four years into the health care system.
Unfreezing Medicare Rebates
The re-investment will see extra funds injected into research and hospital funding, as well as the reversal of the indexation of Medicare rebates in the hopes of encouraging General Practitioners to bulk-bill.
This commitment to unfreeze Medicare rebates comes as a relief to most doctors who have been forced to start charging their patients more as we see a move away from bulk billing practices.
GPs and specialists will see the freeze lifted on consultations from 1 July 2018 and this will be extended to specialist procedures and allied health from 1 July 2019.
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will see some medicines undergo large price cuts. Drugs that have been listed for over a decade will be examined in the hopes of exchanging them for cheaper alternatives in order to make way for new drugs to be listed, such as medicines that treat heart conditions.
Deals the government has struck with the likes of Medicines Australia and the Pharmacy Guild will see them wear the cost in exchange for research and other initiatives.
High Income Earners
Medical practitioners whose taxable income exceeds $180,000 will see benefits from the removal of the 2% budget deficit levy. This levy was introduced as a temporary budget repair measure in the 2014-15 budget, which taxed individuals at a 2% rate for each cent of every dollar above $180,000.
With the Medicare levy set to increase from 2% to 2.5% from 1 July 2019, effectively, high income earners will benefit with a 1.5% tax cut.
How does it compare to last year's Budget?
The complex nature of working in the medical and health sector can sometimes mean general practices are often not structured in a way to maximise on opportunities. With new changes coming in from the 2017/18 Budget, now is the ideal time to speak to a specialist RSM health adviser.