The federal government has “turned its attention to fraudsters” amid reports that the Medicare system is losing up to $8 billion a year.
Ministers Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek responded on Monday to a joint investigation by Nine and the ABC that found some practices were defrauding the system by charging for services that were never provided.
Public Services and NDIS Minister Bill Shorten said while the “vast majority” of GPs were doing the right thing, payment fairness was an issue.
“It’s driving taxpayers to despair when they think some people are opportunistically destroying the system,” he said on Nine’s Today show on Monday.
“Fraudsters do leave traces … obviously we need to make sure we have full confidence in the system, but we need to let the fraudsters know that ‘you’re going to get caught.’
Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, a former health minister, told Seven’s Sunrise program the report was “truly shocking”.
“We need to come down on these people like a ton of bricks because Australians feel protected by Medicare and they want to keep Medicare and they like the way our health system works, but it can’t work when there are people robbing it.” she said. said.
“Those people who steal this should face the full consequences of the law.”
Government Minister Tanya Plibersek says Australians feel protected by Medicare. Source: AAP / MICK TIKAS
According to an ABC and Nine investigation, some doctors billed dead people and falsified patients’ medical records to boost their income. Others made mistakes in their claims.
Medicare expert Margaret Foe estimates waste and rot costs the system up to $8 billion a year, ABC reports.