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The 2017 Budget was handed down by Treasurer Scott Morrison on Tuesday 09 May, which included the Government’s $10 billion plan for Health Care funding. Most notably, the National Disability Insurance Scheme is being fully funded by taxpayers through a Medicare levy increase.
Here’s our wrap-up on winners and losers in the 2017 federal budget for health care.
2017 Budget for Health Care: Losses
Medicare levy changes
From 1 July 2019, there will be an increase in the Medicare levy from 2% to 2.5% of your taxable income. This means the average working family on $120,000 a year will pay an extra $600 in Medicare Levy. The majority of the $8.2 billion in revenue from this levy increase is expected to help the fund the NDIS.
Parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids
Parents will lose approximately $28 per child per fortnight of government payments if they don’t vaccinate their children. In total, the Government expects to withhold about $66 million worth of Family Tax Benefit Part A payments next year.
2017 Budget for Health Care: Wins
Medicare rebate freeze lifted
The four-year freeze on Medicare rebates will finally be lifted using a gradual approach:
- Standard GP consultations and other specialists from 1 July 2018
- Procedures from 1 July 2019
- Targeted diagnostic imaging services from 1 July 2020.
This will cost the Government about $1 billion and will mean patients will have less out-of-pocket expenses.
The Government also plans to introduce Bulk billing incentives for GP consultations from 1 July 2017.
A fully funded National Disability Insurance Scheme
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is funded by a complex arrangement between federal, state and territory governments. It has been unclear until now where the federal component of this funding will come from to fill the current $55 billion shortfall. The 2017 Budget included a Medicare levy increase of 0.5% to pay for one-fifth of the NDIS funding. This will provide more support for Australians with disabilities and their families and carers.
Prices of some medicines will fall
Through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Government’s deal with Medicines Australia, the price of some pharmaceuticals will be reduced. $1.2 billion will be provided for new and amended listings on the PBS. New medicine will also be available for heart failure and schizophrenia treatment. This means out-of-pocket expenses for certain medicines will be reduced.
How much will the Medicare levy increase cost you?
One of the most expensive measures announced in the 2017 Budget for health care is the commitment to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) until 2020.
Under the government’s new plan (if it passes through the senate), the Medicare levy increases from 2% to 2.5%. This will generate more than $8 million of extra revenue to fund the NDIS..
The Medicare levy increase will affect the majority of Australians. The only people who won’t have to pay are singles earning $21,655 or less, and families earning $36,541 or less.
Treasurer Scott Morrison argued the government is calling on ordinary Australians who “have a role to play” to be “looking after your mates”.
Here’s how much the Medicare levy increase will cost you:
Image Source: McIntyre, Tim. “Your five-minute guide to the 2017 Federal Budget”. Herald Sun. 10 May, 2017.