Queensland's Greens Senator Larissa Waters. Photo: James Brickwood
The Greens will push to restore the $664 million that Labor cut from Medicare in this year's federal budget.
The policy move is backed by the Australian Medical Association, with federal president Steve Hambleton to attend the policy launch in Alderley in Brisbane's north on Wednesday morning.
In May, Mr Hambleton warned that the cuts to Medicare would hurt families.
"Cuts to Medicare rebates and changes to Medicare safety nets inevitably increase out of pocket costs for medical care," Mr Hambleton said before the budget.
“Any short term budget gain for the government translates to financial pain for patients and downstream costs for the health system if early diagnosis and treatment is delayed."
Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said Labor's decision to cut the $664 million over three years was wrong.
"We think that cutting Medicare, while refusing to fix the mining tax is a really sad indictment on the priorities of the government," Senator Waters said.
"The cuts were basically a delay of the indexation of payments, of the rebates.
"And we are worried that this will mean - and what we are hearing anecdotally from doctors already - is that they will have to pass the costs on, or it will act as a disincentive to bulk billing."
Senator Waters said doctors have told the Greens that it would have the impact of increasing the "out of pocket" expenses for people needing medical treatment.
"Or, it will act as a dis-incentive to bulk billing," she said.
Labor's parliamentary secretary for Health and Ageing, Shayne Neumann, said the ALP made the decision to reduce the indexation to Medicare payments to cut the budget deficit.
He said there was not a problem with a decrease in the number of doctors being prepared to bulk bill their patients.
"Bulk billing was 67 per cent during the Howard Government, when Mr Abbott was the health minister," he said.
"It is around 82 per cent under this Labor government," he said.
Mr Neumann, the Member for Blair, said Labor did not anticipate bulk billing rates would drop as the Greens believed.
Senator Waters said the Greens would fund the policy from a re-engineered mining tax, which Treasury forecasts show could raise $21.8 billion over the four-year forward estimates.
She agreed that the mining tax revenue ebbed and flowed as a profits-based tax, but disagreed this made the mining tax unreliable as a regular, predictable stream of revenue.
"I accept that it is a profits-based tax, but I also accept that there are a lot of taxes that are dependent on projections, this one included," she said.
"And governments work with that uncertainty and they rely on the projections that Treasury makes.
"So we are relying on Treasury estimates."
The Greens also propose to levy major banks to the tune of 0.2 per cent for deposits of more than $100 billion, raising $8.4 billion over four years.
"So it would only affect the big four banks," she said.