Caring for the sick and elderly has become more expensive for many patients, but some hospitals are struggling to cope.
The Government says there are more than 6.2 million Medicare patients who are currently eligible for a Medicare rebate, but hospitals have only managed to cut that down to just under 1.2m.
The shortfall is being blamed on a combination of poor payment processing and a lack of staffing.
There is also a backlog of around 10m Medicare appointments that are not yet being processed.
The Government says it has introduced a raft of measures to try to help hospitals cope.
But it has also made a series of decisions to cut costs in an effort to drive down costs.
For example, it has made it harder for hospitals to refuse to accept Medicare patients, which have meant the average wait time to see a GP in a hospital is just under two weeks.
But there is a risk that some hospitals may become reluctant to accept new Medicare patients because they will not be able to pay for them.
In some cases, patients who need treatment but cannot afford to pay will be moved to hospital wards that have the cheapest rates.
Some hospitals have even started charging more for patients with more expensive conditions.
One of the biggest savings has been achieved by a move from a “burden-sharing” model where Medicare recipients pay their own costs, to a “shared responsibility” model, where Medicare is shared with other Government and private providers.
A new health and social care funding formula means hospitals have a new revenue stream to cover their costs.
This will help to reduce costs by at least £4.2bn per year by 2020.
And, to help pay for the measures announced this week, the Government will be making some other changes to Medicare.
Many of the Government’s proposals will be funded by tax rises, including a new 20% levy on employers, and a cap on tax deductions for those earning more than £250,000 per year.
At the same time, it is making some significant changes to the Medicare rebate scheme, including increasing the cap on the rebate from just over $50 to $70.
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