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“I can now get on with life and not have to worry about the cost of maintaining my eyesight”
Mike from Sydney lives with neovascular age-related macular degeneration, or wet AMD. But the 77-year-old can still work, drive, surf and play golf – with eyesight good enough to spot whether his brother is sneaking an extra shot! – thanks to regular treatment.
However, a proposed cut to the Medicare rebate for eye injections threatened to make this sight-saving treatment too expensive for Mike and 47,000 other Australians.
That’s why MDFA opposed the cut and made sure our political leaders listened to the concerns of the macular disease community. Now, both major parties have rejected the proposed cut – a major win for thousands of people like Mike.
Please send a kind gift today to help us continue giving a strong voice to every Australian living with macular disease.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of revolutionary eye injection treatments in Australia – a major breakthrough that has transformed the lives of so many in the macular disease community.
Before this sight-saving treatment became available here in 2007, most people diagnosed with wet AMD and other macular conditions went blind – often quite rapidly.
Fifteen years later, though, eye injections have preserved the vision of tens of thousands of Australians, allowing them to enjoy full, active lives long after diagnosis.
In 2019, the independent Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce for Ophthalmology recommended a 69% cut to the Medicare rebate for eye injections.
Economic modelling commissioned by MDFA estimated that the proposed cut would cause wet AMD patients’ average out-of-pocket costs to balloon from $1900 to $3900 a year – double if they received injections in both eyes.
The extra cost would have forced 47,000 Australians to give up treatment over a five-year period – and when you stop receiving injections, you risk going blind.
Your donation supports vital advocacy
However, MDFA CEO Dee Hopkins met with former Health Minister Greg Hunt and then-Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler at Parliament House to represent the concerns of the macular disease community, and MDFA campaigned against the cut by sharing the stories of people like Mike who would be affected if the cost of their treatment increased.
Then in the build-up to the Federal Election, in a major win for our community, both major political parties confirmed they would reject the proposed cut, regardless of the Election result.
Mike – an active 77-year-old from Sydney – was relieved to hear the good news.
“Thank you to both the Government and the Opposition for agreeing to save the rebate. That is a good decision, whichever way you want to look at it.
“And congratulations to Macular Disease Foundation Australia, who have pushed and pushed and come up with an absolutely tremendous result. The benefit to all is just incredible.”
Your donations allow MDFA to represent the needs of patients like Mike to our political leaders in Canberra – particularly when the recommendation to cut the Medicare rebate would have had such a devasting impact on those living with macular disease.
Please send a gift this tax time to help us continue our crucial advocacy work.
“I am so happy. I am so relieved”
Mike is still working as a building maintenance contractor, still playing sport, and most importantly, still driving his wife to her medical appointments. But if Mike had to give up eye injections, he’s not sure how long he’ll be able to hold onto his licence.
“Our whole life would shut down … it would have such an impact on myself and family and friends and our ability to go out and enjoy life as we have.”
That’s why Mike was relieved to learn that both major parties have committed to rejecting the recommended cut, helping him stick to the treatment that saves his sight.
“I am so happy. I am so relieved, and I’m so pleased for all those other 47,000 that had the potential to be in real trouble.”Mike from Sydney
“If both parties had not committed to maintaining the current rebate, I would have definitely had to stop my treatment when I stopped work, because I would have to look after my wife’s medical problems as a priority.
“I can now get on with life and not have to worry about the cost of maintaining my eyesight. Down the track, I think I’ll find a way to continue treatment even when I stop work.”
MDFA’s advocacy has gained support and commitment from the two main political parties who have now rejected the proposed Medicare rebate cut for eye injections. But we could not have done it without the generous support of people like you.
Please send a kind gift this tax time to help us continue our essential advocacy work on behalf of the macular disease community.
Thank you for your donation
Thank you for your generous support. And remember, if you or a loved one ever need information, advice or just a friendly chat, please call our National Helpline on 1800 111 709.