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Public Health in Tasmania

To whom it may concern,

A little over a year ago, I moved to the Hobart area from Sydney but am originally from the US. I had lived in Sydney for the previous thirteen years and consider myself extremely lucky and privileged to be a dual citizen of both Australia and the US.

One of the biggest reasons I choose to live in Australia is because I am able to get public health care. I live a lifestyle where I own my own home, but have an extremely low annual income (under $20k) and there is no way I can afford to pay for a private health fund.

I recently learned that I have Ehlers-Danlos Hypermobility Syndrome and had the need for a local GP/doctor in my area (mainly for referrals to specialist clinics at the public hospital). I was absolutely appalled to learn there are virtually no bulk billing doctors in Hobart, certainly none that are easily accessible!

In the end, I found out I was eligible for a DHS Health Care Card and applied through Centrelink, an arduous and time consuming process. Even as a Health Care Card concession holder, it was extremely difficult to find a local GP that bulk billed AND was taking new patients. I was under the impression that public health care was available to all Australians throughout the country, but apparently this doesn't apply to Tasmanians/Hobartians.

I would like answers from Medicare, politicians and consumer health organisations as to how on earth is this allowed to happen. I would also suggest that you, as health consumer representatives of the people of Hobart, look seriously into the situation in the state of Tasmania because it surely can't be right.

I thank you in advance and look forward to any change that may come from this initiative!

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