Back door GP co-payment opposed by pensioners

"CPSA is concerned about the announcement that the GP co-payment is being implemented by stealth by reducing the rebate paid to doctors," said CPSA Manager, Research and Advocacy, Amelia Christie.

"It's a no-brainer that patients will end up footing the bill for this rebate reduction.

"All this does is shift the co-payment (and the community opposition to it) from the Government onto doctors. It is the patients who are going to be slogged with a payment that many Australians won't be able to afford.

"This is not an "optional co-payment" for patients. Some people will now be faced with the option of seeking medical treatment or forgoing other essentials. Where does this leave people with chronic conditions and people living on low incomes? There is no guarantee that all these people will be able to access a doctor when they need it.

"Allowing a co-payment to be charged by doctors dismantles Australia's universal Medicare system. While there may be no rebate reduction for certain patients, there is no guarantee that these vulnerable patients, including pensioners, will not be slogged with a fee.

"GPs are the gateway to healthcare services and need to be accessible for everyone. If the Government is worried about sustainability they should look at increasing the Medicare levy, rather than pushing doctors to charge for vital health services.

"CPSA calls on Australian Senators to vote against the amendment to the Health Insurance Act 1973 which would allow this back door GP co-payment to be implemented," said Ms Christie.

Media Contact: Amelia Christie, Manager, Research and Advocacy
Mobile: 0410 612 182