The federal government's commitment to Medicare has been challenged by Indi MP Helen Haines, who says outcomes are not all positive for regional patients.
Lyne MP David Gillespie said on Monday that Medicare benefits had increased by 3.5 per cent to $24.1 billion in 2018-19 and the national GP bulk billing rate of 86.2 per cent was four per cent higher than four years ago.
But Dr Haines challenged the government's focus on just these figures, saying other data shows that only 66 per cent of Australians are fully covered by bulk-billing.
"That means one third of Australians have to open their wallet when they go to the doctor," she said.
"Almost one million Australians delay seeing the doctor because of these costs.
"The data also confirms that Australia has a two-track healthcare system, one for the city and one for the country."
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She said Mr Gillespie is a country doctor and she is a country nurse, so they both understand the benefits of Medicare.
But the bulk billing rate in Wangaratta and Benalla last year was 69 per cent - 17 points below the national average.
"How is this worth celebrating? How is this even acceptable?" Dr Haines said.
"Regional Australia is already facing enough challenges - government neglect should not be added to the mix ... We need a rural health strategy that looks at the problem dead in the eyes, outlines measures to fix it and commits the funding to make it happen."
Dr Haines has also asked the government when recommendations from the Regions at the Ready Report, which was delivered to the government 14 months ago, would be implemented.
She directed a question to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in Parliament on Tuesday, saying regional Australia was still waiting for the government to announce its plans.
Mr McCormack could not provide the specific timeframe requested by Dr Haines, but spent much of his answer explaining why the government's focus on regional Australia was better than that from Labor.
"Each and every day, the plans of this government for regional Australia are there for all to see," he said. "My department is working very much on making sure that we get the final response to that important report."