Labor have blamed Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton for rises in healthcare costs after questions answered by the Department of Health indicated that the average out of cost price for a GP visit had risen in recent years.
Labor Senator Deborah O'Neill claimed that health care costs have 'never been higher' than the current federal government after the average out of pocket cost for a non-referred GP visit was shown to have risen to $36.32 by the 2018 - 2019 period.
Senator O'Neill said that the average increase represented a 'record high' across the term of the last three governments, with costs rising by $8.68 - a 31% increase - since the Coalition led by Tony Abbott was elected in 2013.
Figured provided to Senator O'Neill by the the government's Department of Health also show that specialist out of pocket fees have risen in the same time period, rising by 51% since 2013, an increase of $29.72 to a total average cost of $88.47.
Senator O'Neill accused the federal government of failing to prevent price rises as a result of Coalition policy over the previous three governments, stating that 'neglect' had led to the increases.
"After the Liberals tried and failed to impose a GP Tax, they introduced the Medicare freeze, a GP Tax-by-stealth", Senator O'Neill said.
Senator O'Neill linked the decision to policy formed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in his then role as treasurer.
"Scott Morrison extended the freeze as Treasurer, leading directly to the out-of-pocket costs that people in Parkesface today."
"Health costs have never been higher than under Scott Morrison."
The data provided by the Department of Health also indicated that the percentage of patients in Parkes who bulk bill all of their non-referred GP costs had fluctuated over the same time period, moving upwards from 69.5% in 2012 - 2013 to a high 72.7% in 2017 - 2018, before a slight decrease to 72.6% across 2018 - 2019.
The bulk billing rate for specialist attendances across the same period of time has steadily increased to a high of 47.8% across 2018 - 2019.
Mr Coulton was contacted for comment, but was unable to reply in time for publication.