Wednesday 11 January 2017

Medicare Funding Cuts

I have in the past posted about some alarming statistics, one in particular that we have the highest rate of suicide in the world, and the highest per capita prescriptions for anti depressants. Something is not right in the state of Denmark Australia as they say. Given these figures, I was shocked by what I heard yesterday.

In an informal conversation with a doctor, I learnt of some changes to Medicare that fills me with fear. I am not a doctor, and I am hoping I have misunderstood what she was meaning, and if that is the case, please correct me and I will amend the post. If this issue does affect you, please don't panic yet, as I may be entirely wrong.

The short of it, as explained to me, is that the average person will no longer get rebates on counselling with Psychiatrists and Psychologists. If you are a child, homeless, with the healthcare card and suicidal, you will still get the rebate or access to the free services. However, if you are a mother with PND, a husband overwhelmed at his retrenchment, someone whose physical pain has become a little too much to cope with, or someone afflicted with anxiety, there is no code for the GP to give the referral, If you received help at 17, when you turn 18, that help will cease, unless you can pay for it.

Surely the key to mental health is preventative steps while the problem is manageable? Why wait for the breakdown, or for it to be too late? Surely it is in the public interest to support those seeking treatment? We all benefit from a happier, more productive society.

This offhand comment at a party was the first I heard of it, so I'm hoping I am wrong. It does seem odd that a google search doesn't bring it up, which gives me hope that I misinterpreted the conversation.

As I said, if there is just a delay in the process, and the codes are on their way to GPs in the 'new year' or if I totally misunderstood what was being said, please speak up and I can breathe easy and take down the post. If it is the case that the Government has decided to pull much needed funding from Mental Health in the areas of Anxiety and Depression, please give me an idea on how we combat or challenge this. Other than, I really have no idea how to start. I do however feel I can't sit this one out, as we aren't quite the lucky country I once thought we were, but I do believe we can be.

I believe we should be trying to encourage people to seek help when they need it. If we price it out of their means, they just won't bother, and so the downward spiral begins. This cost cutting seems very short sighted and detrimental to all of us, However a tide raises all boats, so let's start the swell.

Linking with the #UltimateRabbitHole

Please note this discussion that may trigger distress. If  feeling fragile, please always reach out for help. Lifeline 13 11 14  (or 000 in an emergency). Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636, Reach Out Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467. 

Also please leave the name calling off  the comments, I will delete any disrespectful discussion whether it's regarding other comments or politicians.


  1. Oh wow- I hadn't heard about this and it does seem like something that should have made news. I was able to access this service a year or so ago and it gave me the tools I needed to manage my anxiety effectively. It's definitely needed.

  2. Really? I must look into this. This sounds terrible!

  3. I've spoken to another doctor who seems to think I misunderstood, and she did explain that something else had changed in regards to the funding for Mental Health but I didn't understand exactly what she meant. So if anyone can clarify in terms for dummies, that would be great....but it sounds not as terrible as I thought.

  4. I haven't heard anything about these changes. I believe funding should still be available for individuals accessing support with a Mental Health Plan written up by a GP.

  5. I hope that this isn't true because you just can't cut corners with mental health. Even with the rebate, seeing a mental health professional can still be pricey and I am sure without the mental health plan Australian suicide rates would be even higher.