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Medicare (Australia) facts for kids

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Medicare is the publicly-funded universal health care insurance scheme in Australia, operated by Services Australia. Medicare is the main way Australian citizens and permanent residents access health care in Australia, either partially or fully covering the cost of most primary health care services in the public and private health care system. International visitors from 11 countries have subsidised access to medically necessary treatment under reciprocal agreements. All Australian citizens and permanent residents have access to fully covered health care in public hospitals and clinics.

Most specialties and allied health services are partially covered by Medicare, including psychology and psychiatry, ophthalmology, physiotherapy and audiology, with the exception of dental services. The list of services covered, the standard operating fee for the service, and the portion of that fee covered, is set out in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). Services not covered by Medicare are often covered by private health insurance, which is also subsidised by the Australian Government for most Australians.

The scheme was created in 1975 by the Whitlam Government under the name "Medibank", and was limited by the Fraser Government in 1976 to paying customers only. The Hawke Government reinstated universal health care in 1984 under the name "Medicare". Medibank continued to exist as a government-owned private health insurance provider until it was privatised by the Abbott Government in 2014.

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