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Cancer physicians say Labor promises won’t eliminate all out-of-pocket costs for patients

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has promised a $2.3 billion cancer package which he says will eliminate out of pocket costs for cancer patients, if his party is elected.

But doctors from Private Cancer Physicians of Australia say they can’t guarantee gap fees will be covered for all cancer patients.

Victorian Director of Private Cancer Physicians of Australia, Dr Ben Brady, told Neil Mitchell “it’s very difficult to give a straight answer” on whether out-of-pocket costs can be eliminated.

“It’s a very complex issue. Cancer is a team illness. It’s not just about the medical oncologist or the haemotologist… to reduce cancer down to the cancer specialist is making the problem too simple.

“Certainly the Labor plan as it is would reduce the out of pockets,” Dr Brady said.

An anonymous oncologist echoed Dr Brady’s sentiment, telling Neil “what has happened with the opposition is a positive response to the issue of financial toxicity. It will reduce but not eliminate gap fees.”

Under Labor’s scheme, private doctors would be forced to bulk bill their services for specialist consultations in order to claim a new Medicare rebate worth about $150.

Dr Brady said Private Cancer Physicians of Australia will engage with both sides of politics regarding their promises on cancer treatment in the lead up to the federal election.

Press PLAY below to hear Neil Mitchell’s full interview with Dr Ben Brady.