Pressure mounts to include post-partum
PRESSURE continues to mount for Medicare to include post-partum women who need tummy tucks for medical reasons, with Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King now weighing in and a petition attracting signatures from across the nation.
Ms King recently told the Southern Gazette her office had been contacted by Victoria Park resident Ruth Unni and two other women interstate who all need abdominoplasty.
Changes to Medicare criteria for item 30177 exclude postpartum women in a move dubbed “overzealous” by the Australian Medical Association WA.
The Gazette reported Ms Unni’s plight in July when she cancelled her tummy tuck because she could not afford it despite living with severe back pain, a hernia and cyst and a 5cm separation of her abdominal muscles due to pregnancy nine years ago.
Ms King said the Labor party was a strong supporter of the independent Medicare Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) and the need for Medicare payments to be tied to rigorous evidence.
“Labor is concerned at media reports that the Lipectomy Review Working Group, which provided the evidence for the MSAC review, recommended the retention of Medicare payments for abdominoplasty for post partum pregnancy problems,” she said.
“I have thus written to the Minister for Health asking her to review the implementation of this decision, and specifically that this change may have unintended consequences for women who have a clinical need for the surgery.”
Last month, Health Minister Sussan Ley said the responsibility for criteria review rests with MSAC.
“The committee may consider new evidence if it can demonstrate cost effectiveness, benefit and safety of the surgery for post partum women,” she said.
“The Society has already gone down this path and been overridden but will be gathering more information and preparing to present its case again,” a spokeswoman for the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons said this month.
“It may take six months to do and in the meantime many women will be disadvantaged by the decision that rejected the recommendation of ASPS.”