With 2022 coming to a close, as a community we can look back on this year with a sense of achievement. On the eve of the Federal election in May, both major political parties committed to reject a proposal by the Medicare Benefits Scheme Taskforce to cut the Medicare rebate for eye injections. This was a major win for thousands of people living with macular disease who rely on this treatment to retain their sight.
MDFA’s successful advocacy leading to the new Government’s rejection of the proposal to cut the MBS rebate for intravitreal injections leaves us with the question: what next?
Lifting the threat of the proposed rebate cut was a great relief to many in our community. Yet significant questions remain. What can be done to help people persevere with eye injections? How can eye injections become more affordable? And how can people access treatment closer to home?
From the work we undertook to build our case against the proposed MBS Rebate cut, we know that less than 50% of people continue eye injections longer than 5 years. Cost is a major concern that leads to people stopping treatment. We also know that distance and travel difficulties are important reasons people consider stopping treatment.
Given this, we must ask the question: what might be the benefit to Governments and people with macular disease if access to treatment is improved and can be available closer to home, if cost is reduced for those most in need, and if people receive support and encouragement to persist with their eye injections.
MDFA has commissioned PwC to model these potential economic benefits.
With answers to each of these questions, we will better understand the impact of these problems. Our “want next?” will then become a mission to work with Federal and State / Territory Governments, professional organisations and others to find solutions to these problems.