Budget 2017: How will health services be affected?

The government says it will increase Medicare rebates and cut the cost of medicines.

Here's how the health system fared from Budget 2017:

Rebates and drugs 

A new Medicare Guarantee Fund is to be established from the 1st of July, 2017 to secure the ongoing funding of the Medicare Benefits Schedule and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The fund will receive income from the Medicare levy - after the NDIS funding is deducted – and topped up by personal tax receipts.

This Budget restores indexation of the Medicare rebate, starting with GP and diagnostic imaging bulk-billing incentives from the 1st of July.

At the same time, the Medicare levy low-income thresholds for singles, families and seniors and pensioners will be increased so that low-income taxpayers generally continue to be exempted from paying the Medicare levy.

The government says it has reached agreements with three organisations - Medicines Australia, the Pharmacy Guild and Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Australia – to bring down the cost of some medicines.

There will also be $374.2 million for the My Health Record scheme which aims to provide Australians with access to their medical history.

Mental health

The government is to boost mental health care services and preventive health strategies with an additional $170 million.

This includes additional funding of $80 million, contingent on matched funding from state and territory governments, to maintain community psychosocial services for people with mental illness who don’t qualify for the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). 

People in rural and remote areas will have better access to psychologists under a $9.1 million telephone-health service set to be implemented later this year. 

$11.1 million is being allocated to suicide prevention services in a number of locations that experience particularly high rates of suicide. 

Three major mental health initiatives will receive $15 million, while $50 million goes to support for serving Defence Force members and their families.


The federal government says it is pledging record funding for public hospitals in this Budget.

Commonwealth funding to states and Territories will increase by $2.8 billion. 

In addition there is $736.2 million for the Tasmanian government for the Mersey Community Hospital, the Missiondale Recovery Centre and palliative care services in the island state.