Who wants to pay $30 to have a cold piece of plastic shoved inside them so their cervix can be scraped.
No? I didn’t think so.
But this is the reality facing women who need their pap smear once the federal government’s cuts to bulk-billing incentive payments kick in this July.
Pap smears, blood tests, urine tests and imaging services are all going to start costing you something (or, costing you more if you’re already paying for them).
Which doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.
Pap smears help detect cervical cancer before it’s too late.
Blood and urine tests are used all the time in preventative health care. They help doctors to catch heart, kidney and liver problems, and chronic diseases like diabetes. They are also the main way that we screen for STIs.
So this funding cut could spell the end of free sexual health check-ups, which sounds risky.
Sexually active teenagers are probably not that enthused about getting their STI checks. I can’t imagine making them pay for it is going to increase the number willing to do it.
The Thinkergirls #RealLYF Series – Getting a Pap Smear…
There are also plenty of adults who will be less likely to get screened if they have to pay, some because they simply can’t afford it.
These changes were announced in the week before Christmas. They have also been made “at arms length” from the government.
It will be up to the companies that provide these services to decide whether to recoup their lost rebates directly from patients, enabling the politicians who removed the subsidies to wipe their hands of the impost.
“Not our fault the company passed on the cost,” they will probably say. “We didn’t force them to.”
But the reality is that these tests cost money, and the government is now providing less ($650 million less over four years to be exact) to cover the cost of doing the tests.