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What's changing with Medicare? It's really hard to find out ...

"On the 1st of July, just a few weeks' time, we're going to see the biggest changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule that we're aware of in the history of Medicare. Over 900 items are changing and this has a significant potential impact on patients. The problem that we're seeing, and the problem that we're calling out today is that Government have only just released these new changes to the schedule in the last week or so, leaving only a few weeks for doctors, health funds and others to determine what their fees are and what the arrangements will be for the future.

Now, the changes to the schedule are quite significant, including very significant cuts to some rebates that patients may expect for their surgery as a result of rule changes within the MBS. But the bigger problem is the chaos that's going to ensue because doctors can't tell patients how much they can expect to receive back from their health fund because they simply don't know. It's not the fund's fault. They haven't had a chance yet to develop their own fee schedules. It's not the doctors' fault because they've just got no information around which to have a conversation with their patients for surgeries that have already been booked post first of July. So our message to patients having orthopaedic surgery, also cardiac and general surgery, is that if you do receive a bill that is not what you're expecting, if your doctor is unable to tell you what your fees are, it's not the doctor's fault. It's not the health funds fault on this occasion, it's the Government's fault." (Omar Khorshid, President Australian Medical Association.) Read more on the AMA's site at "Dr Omar Khorshid - MBS changes and comments on quarantine," 6 Jun 2021.

Statement requesting retraction of the Rights Livelihood Award, given to the White Helmets

The following statement is made on behalf of the U.S. Peace Council and others:
- We respectfully request that the members of the Rights Livelihood Award committee review their award of this prestigious award to the organisation known as the White Helmets.
- We believe strongly that this award has been given in error, perhaps because not enough evidence was presented to the committee. We ask the committee to consider the following, documented, and supported evidence:

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