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BCNA News 14 May 2014

Budget makes life harder for those with breast cancer

Changes to health funding announced in last night’s Federal Budget will make life more difficult for Australian families affected by breast cancer.

BCNA members know only too well that a diagnosis of breast cancer can have a significant financial impact. Out-of-pocket costs and reduced hours of work, or having to stop work altogether, are some of the reasons for this financial pressure.

So BCNA is disappointed that the Federal Government is increasing charges for Australians who need to use the health system.

For those with cancer and chronic diseases, and those on low or fixed incomes, the increased costs will come at a vulnerable time in their lives.

Changes announced in the Federal Budget include:

  • $7.00 Medicare co-payment for GP appointments, and for X-rays and pathology tests not done in hospital – from 1 July 2015
  • $5.00 increase in script fees for each PBS prescription medicine  ($0.80 for concession card holders) – from 1 January 2015
  • possible $7.00 fee to visit a hospital emergency department – dependent on state and territory governments.

The safety net for the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) will be increased from 1 January 2015, and then each year for the next three years, meaning that people who require a number of PBS prescription medicines in a year will pay more before the safety net kicks in. In 2015, the additional cost will be $145.30 (or $61.80 for concession card holders).

BCNA welcomes additional investment in research through the establishment of a Medical Research Future Fund. However we are concerned that the funding for it comes from the new $7.00 Medicare co-payment, which disproportionately affects those who need frequent medical services. 

We also welcome the decision to simplify the Medicare Safety Net and reduce the thresholds that individuals and families must meet before receiving increased Medicare benefits.

BCNA has provided a submission on out-of-pocket costs for Australians with breast cancer to an inquiry being conducted by The Senate Community Affairs Committee into out-of-pocket costs in Australian health care. The submission will be uploaded to the BCNA website in the coming days.

Please contact us if you would like to comment on the budget. Email

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