Age Pensioners strongly oppose GP fee

“CPSA strongly opposes the suggestion by National Seniors that older people support a $6 fee to visit a doctor”, said Senior Policy Advisor Amelia Christie.

“National Seniors has made it clear that they only represent older people with money.

“Bulk billing doctors are already an endangered species. In many practices only patients with a Centrelink Health Care Card are eligible. So a co-contribution fee suggestion targets people living on low incomes.

“Many people who live on a full rate Pension or Allowance – whether that be the Age Pension, the Disability Support Pension, the Carers Payment or Newstart survive from one fortnight’s pay to the next. A $6 fee will prevent many from seeking medical advice when required.   

“There is evidence that low income households already avoid seeking medical treatment for financial reasons: even if the consultation is bulk billed, it invariably includes a prescription or referrals for scans or other treatment that may not be entirely covered by Medicare.

“The suggestion that a co-contribution payment will discourage people from making “unnecessary” visits to their GP is appalling. GPs are the gateway to other health services and it is essential that people are able to get advice and care when needed. Having people ration GP visits may result in more costs to the health system in the long run if people wait until a condition worsens before seeking out medical advice.

“CPSA calls on the Australian Government to rule out dismantling bulk billing and any move towards a user pays system. Bulk billing is crucial to ensuring that everyone is able to access a doctor when they need it”, said Ms Christie.

Media Contact: Amelia Christie
Mobile: 0410 612 182