Without CPI, how would doctors afford to eat?
THE following is a transcript of a recent interview with the new health minister, Tanya Plibersek:
Ms Plibersek, why isn’t the Medicare rebate fully indexed?
I thought it was.
Are you sure?
No, you must be wrong. Eighty per cent of GP consults are bulk billed. Why would GPs do that if the rebate weren’t fully indexed?
Is that like... something to do with the internet?
That’s social network.
Oh... Is that not the same thing?
Not exactly, no.
That’s conscience with a ‘c’?
Conscience... Who knew? Anyway, never mind all that. I’m sure all this indexation nonsense is taken care of.
It’s not, actually. The Medicare rebate has only risen by half the CPI for years now.
The CPI? That’s about the price of food, isn’t it?
Well – doctors do have to eat.
Really... You sure about that?
Don’t know about that one. I mean, personally, I’ve never seen a doctor eating. Have you?
I’m told they do it regularly. Three times a day, in fact.
Three! That’s a bit excessive. I mean, I don’t see why the taxpayer should be feeding doctors three times a day. Even my Jack Russell only gets two goes at the trough.
Well, either way, they still need to eat.
But the CPI’s not just about food. It’s about all sorts of things that have nothing to do with medical practice. White goods, for example.
We’re not talking hunter-gatherers here – we’re talking doctors. One assumes that if these people are going to be eating three times a day...
...twice a day that the food they eat will need to be refrigerated, toasted, microwaved?
So you’re talking about an entire kitchen fit-out courtesy of the taxpayer.
But that’s what people do, isn’t it? They work so that they can make money so that they can eat and have a roof over their heads, which usually includes a kitchen.
Well... yes... People. Obviously. But I’m talking about doctors. I mean, yesterday it was food, today it’s a kitchen...Who knows what they’ll be demanding tomorrow!
Having eaten, I daresay it’ll be a toilet.
There you go. The demands never stop. This food thing is just the thin end of the wedge.
But that’s what the CPI is all about. It’s supposed to include everything.
It’s supposed to reflect what it costs to live.
So you’re trying to tell me that doctors are dependent on taxpayers to live?!
To the tune of 80%, yes.
And the amount goes up every year.
I think you’ll find that’s the definition of indexation.
You sure about that?
Amazing. In-dex-a-tion... With an ‘i’?
Gee willikers. You think you know a language... Anyway, can’t stop to gab. Off to uni. I’m being invested with an honorary spin-doctorate. Toodle-oo!