The Medicare rebate was frozen at $36.30 in 2013 by the Labor Party to stop the increases in health spending because they said the budget was blowing out. At the time the Coalition criticised them for it.
When the Abbott/Turnbull government came to power, they had an idea about how to reform the health industry to make it rely less on government money, such as:
- a $7 co-payment for going to the doctor
- a ten-minute minimum consultation time
- a $5 reduction in the medicare rebate for "common GP consultations"
All of these ideas were extremely unpopular with voters and were dumped by then PM Tony Abbott.
Instead, in the 2016 Budget (earlier this month), treasurer Scott Morrison announced the government wanted to keep the Medicare rebate frozen until 2020.
Health minister Sussan Ley says she argued to get the freeze lifted but was stopped by the Finance and Treasury departments.
Ley told the ABC, "I've said to doctors I want that freeze lifted as soon as possible but I appreciate that Finance and Treasury aren't allowing me to do it just yet".