The Liberal National Government will invest $32 million so breast cancer patients have life-saving scans covered under Medicare, saving patients up to $1,500 per scan, Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien announced today.
Two new Medicare items for MRI of the breast will be available from 1 November 2019, which will help with the more accurate diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
Mr O'Brien said patients will receive Medicare subsidised MRI scans to help with the diagnosis of breast cancer in patients where other imaging has been inconclusive and biopsy has not been possible.
"MRI scans will also be Medicare-subsidised for patients in Wide Bay to help pre-surgical planning, and allow patients to make the right treatment decision without worrying about the additional cost of scans," he said.
"Access to MRI scans keeps the cost of healthcare down for families and will help Wide Bay patients in their fight against breast cancer."
About 14,000 patients a year are expected to benefit from adding these services to Medicare and it expected to save patients up to $1,500 per scan.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Government will also add PET scans for advanced breast cancer as a Medicare item from November 1 this year.
"An MRI is a commonly used medical scan which gives a detailed view of the soft tissues of the body such as muscles, ligaments, brain tissue, discs and blood vessels. It is used by doctors to diagnose and monitor number of different medical conditions including cancer and trauma or sporting injuries," Minister Hunt said.
"A PET scan is whole body scan that takes computer images and will help manage and plan treatment for advanced breast cancer patients," Minister Hunt said.
"This addition to Medicare will save an average of 1000 Australian patients per year up to $1,000 per scan."
"I want to ensure we support Australian diagnosed with breast cancer by reducing out of pockets costs and ensure their diagnosis and treatment is supported by the most contemporary scans."
"Our commitment to Medicare remains rock solid. It is a cornerstone of our universal health system and a key pillar in our long term health plan."
Wide Bay MP Mr O'Brien said the Morrison Government's investment in Medicare is growing each and every year from approximately $24 billion in 2017-18, to $25 billion in 2018-19, $26 billion in 2019-20, $27 billion in 2020-21 and $29 billion in 2021-22 to support healthcare for every Australian.
"Our Government's strong economic management ensures we continue to invest record amounts of funding into essential health services including Medicare, mental health, life-saving medicines, and hospitals," Mr O'Brien said.