The situation with Medicare and HepC testing are here
Essentially a Specialist needs to authorise an initial test of viral load but during treatment a GP can order VL tests.
Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) PCR: Qualitative (assessment of antiviral therapy of HCV)
Medicare criteria (4 per year):
Patient is undertaking antiviral therapy for hepatitis C.
Medicare funded Specialist Telehealth is a good example of rationing.
In 2011 when it was set up about 2/3 of all Australians were eligible to see a Specialist online.
On 1st Jan 2013 that number was reduced to 1/3 of all Australians.
By way of example we had a psychiatrist in Brisbane seeing patients on the Sunshine and Gold Coasts saving them ~4 hours travel. All her patients became ineligible overnight when they extended the ineligible zone from central Brisbane to to extend from Noosa in the North down over the border into NSW stopping just short of Byron Bay.
There are about 24 million specialist consults a year. There are 140 million GP consults. Of those 160 million consults only 1/3 of the 24 million = 8 million are eligible for Medicare funded Telehealth. That's about 5%.
This has never been any funding for GP or Allied Health Telehealth and in my view the Government has done a pretty good job of killing Telehealth off. Even Medibank has given up selling their Anywhere Healthcare business to Telstra for an undisclosed sum following a $15 million loss (disclosed in their IPO).
Why it should matter if a patient uses feet, wheels, wings or video to get to their doctor is beyond me.