Healthcare becomes unaffordable

The proposed GP co-payment would mean the least well off will be hit the hardest.

Since 2000 Australia’s out-of-pocket healthcare costs have more than doubled, making us, on this measure, the fifth most expensive country in the world. This research was quoted this morning by Greens senator Richard di Natale who warned that the proposed GP co-payment would mean the least well off will be hit the hardest. Senator di Natale also criticised the Medicare safety net for not being sufficiently comprehensive. As payments are only refunded after the patient pays the initial cost, he believes it means many patients are simply deferring a doctor’s visit, treatment or purchase of medication if they can’t afford it at the time. Senator di Natale also shared his concern that, with no upper limit, many GPs may charge in excess of the proposed $7 co-payment, making health care even more unaffordable.

Listen to his interview with Alison Carabine on Radio National Breakfast.

Older patients pay more

It’s official. Australians are now paying an average $1100 per year in out-of-pocket health care costs – those not covered by private insurance or Medicare rebates. And this amount is double what it was in 2000. So if you think you are spending more and more on health, you are correct. And the proposed GP co-payment will make it worse. For some reason, those in power seem to be taking great delight in dismantling what has been the envy of the rest of the world – a highly effective universal health system. You work, you pay taxes, and you don’t have to worry too much if you are unwell, as the health system is designed to cater for all. But no longer. With the proposed co-payment applying to GP visits, follow on tests and prescriptions, some doctor visits may cost $21 or more on the day, let alone follow-up costs. Given that the older section of the population uses health services more regularly, guess where the greater share of the burden will fall? You get it, on older Australians – you know, the ones who’ve paid the most taxes and levies since Medicare was introduced. We did have a great health system, but it is fast following the American model – fine for the rich, not so good for the rest of us.

What do you think? Are rising out-of-pocket healthcare costs just evidence of the excellence of our system? Or are the poor becoming disenfranchised when it comes to health as well? Are you avoiding medical treatment because you can’t afford it?





    COMMENTS

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    Polly Esther
    30th Jul 2014
    10:56am
    The greens are still flogging a dead horse and I wish they'd finally give up and dismount. Always look on the bright side, thanks Monty.
    "If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain".
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    5:32pm
    Nothing like a little ray of Sunshine to Brighten up ones Day !!
    Sorry about Yer Orse !!
    Tom Tank
    30th Jul 2014
    10:57am
    This seems to part of a plan to turn the clock back to the 1930's by the government which can only be classed as extreme right wing. They have even been categorised as that in the U.S.
    Apart from the pain inflicted upon the less well off it is another blatantly broken promise.
    The only promises they are trying, and moving heaven and earth, to keep are both causing our reputation overseas irreparable harm.
    Since Joe H has plainly stated that there is no budget emergency and so many economic commentators, from both sides of the political fence, are questioning the economics behind all these measures where on earth are we being taken.
    KSS
    30th Jul 2014
    12:51pm
    I am interested to know why the opinion of overseas countries is only relevant where there is a perceived negative situation. You talk of 'irreparable harm' to our reputation, yet right now the 'rest of the world' is looking at Australia and Mr Abbott and Ms Bishop and admiring the demonstrated good leadership.

    Just interested that's all. After all do we live our lives based on what the neighbours think? I don't.
    Tom Tank
    30th Jul 2014
    2:17pm
    Australia has had an excellent reputation as an "honest" broker, comparatively unaligned (i.E. not in the pockets of major power blocks) and a respecter of human rights.
    We took a bit hit over Tampa, I was in the UK at the time and the reaction there was one of surprise and disappointment that we would do that, and over becoming George Bush's "Deputy Sheriff". Our current treatment of boat people is not considered appropriate for a country like ours especially when compared to the like of Italy.
    You may not be concerned about our standing in the World but it is important in many ways.
    As far as the Ukraine situation is concerned the Prime Minister of Malaysia is the one who has made things happen and our continued request, or is demands, that our police be armed is, if you read independent reports on the situation, greeted with amazement and by one expert in that area as 'plain nuts".
    Ming
    30th Jul 2014
    11:30am
    the country could better afford universal health care(somebody else pays for me) if funds were not expended on paying green politicians.
    Kato
    30th Jul 2014
    11:46am
    I don't mind a co -payment if in the long term it makes medicare sustainable for future generations. The biggest problem with our health system are the overcharging specialist's' not all.
    That is the side the Gov't needs to be seen to be doing work on. The Australian medical association makes trade unions look like pussies.
    The is a problem with the current system of Medicare and Private Health Insurance as they seem to be the same by a different guise. You can have one hundred percent private health cover yet they only cover to the medicare level so if the specialist or who ever is not a no gap, then you pay?
    tactful
    30th Jul 2014
    12:01pm
    I would love to go back to pre-Medicare or Medibank as it was originally called. Everyone had Private Health Insurance, if you had a health care card you simply presented it to your Private Health Fund and you got your basic hospital and medical cover FREE. If you wanted a higher level of cover you paid the difference. There were no problems way back then, it seems to me that Medicare has actually allowed those who can afford to pay make the choice not to take out Private Health Insurance and those who know they really need it and truly can't afford it keep on struggling to pay.
    Where is the equity in a system that allows those who can afford to pay to get away without paying a single cent for their health care and the poor, underprivileged and those with permanent medical conditions are left out in the cold.
    Bring back equity, if you can afford to pay then you darn well should.
    Blossom
    30th Jul 2014
    12:35pm
    I agree with you. My parents didn't have Health Care cards but they still got most of their accounts refunded in full.
    Mar
    30th Jul 2014
    12:29pm
    After being in Private Health for 50 years, left it because of unmanageable on single pension. Since leaving and experiencing health problems have been on waiting lists for long periods.Aged health care in Australia has gone down, down, down. It costs me roughly $50 fortnight now. It will become more prohibitive. Can't believe this Government and will never vote for them again.
    Ming
    30th Jul 2014
    12:40pm
    OK, so you blame a government that has been there for 9 moths, (amazing decline in health standards in such a short period). Question? have you ever voted for any party other than those who believe money grows on trees?
    Blossom
    30th Jul 2014
    12:32pm
    I am glad my Medical Centre gives $5.00 discount if I pay cash on the day. They forward the claim to Medicare for me and the refund goes into my Bank Account within 3 days at the most - sometimes the same day.
    KSS
    30th Jul 2014
    12:35pm
    I agree tactful. But who decides whether you can afford to pay? I doubt there would be many who would willingly put their hand up to pay more. So where do you draw the line?

    I have known and seen people with health cover denying the fact because they don't want to pay the gap and then getting hospital treatment with no payment at all.

    The issue is not cut and dried. I think private health cover should be similar to car insurance. You pay an excess then all related costs for that event are covered. Unfortunately as we know, this is not the case. Not only do you pay an excess you also have to pay the gap between the medicare rebate and the actual cost of the surgeon, specialist, anaesthetist, medication, bandages etc

    As for GPs, whilst I accept they are actually small businesses who employ staff (reception, nurse, cleaners etc) and have to make a living, some where I am, charge up to $75 to see the patient regardless of how long the consultation may be. In fact if it turns out to be a long one, they charge a premium rate. Even a repeat prescription issued without needing to see the GP costs $10. This makes the proposed $7 co-payment look cheap.

    Under the current proposal, what you may not know is that where a bulk-billing doctor decided to waive the fee (as they can) they themselves will not receive the medicare payment they get for seeing patients. This means they would actually lose money by seeing patients they would not charge. No small business can give their goods or services away for free and expect to stay in business.

    Even so there is still a lot of scaremongering going on. The current proposal limits the amount of co-payment for anything (GP visit, blood tests, x-rays etc) to the first 10 visits a total of $70. Pensioners were to receive a one off payment of $70 which would make the situation neutral.
    Adrianus
    30th Jul 2014
    12:47pm
    I went to the Doc yesterday paid $73 and got a refund of $37. I'm assuming that I am getting ripped off.
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    4:04pm
    And an Old Age Friend of Mine told Me the Exact Same Thing Frank !!??.. WT ??
    Adrianus
    31st Jul 2014
    10:11am
    I don't really mind paying for health services. What's it worth to be kept alive?
    The health bill comes to around $125b of which about $25b is out of pocket expenses. I know of people who have spent their life savings, $60,000 plus, for life saving medical treatment.
    It has cost me about half that in the last 12 months.
    Just who is being mean spirited and selfish here?
    Anonymous
    2nd Aug 2014
    8:30am
    There is always money for scratchies/lotto etc...line up of seniors every Saturday morning at my local shopping centre..very noticeable.
    Fready
    30th Jul 2014
    12:54pm
    What a bunch of whingers we have become. We wouldn't think twice to pay $7 for a beer, but baulk at the idea of paying $7 to see a doctor. As an Australian who got sick in New Zealand I had to pay $196 to see a doctor. However, I was told that New Zealanders have to pay $16 for every visit to a doctor and I didn't hear anyone complaining. In addition, their salaries are lower than ours and they pay a higher GST than we do.
    Kato
    30th Jul 2014
    4:35pm
    You havn't heard a kiwi whinge obviously. I was in the north island, Napier visiting my niece, a leg of lamb cost over forty dollars. They very rarely eat lamb because of the cost. After that shopping trip you can bet I had a few sultry moments I can tell you. even thought of getting a lift back in one of the passing boats.
    Kato
    30th Jul 2014
    4:36pm
    sulky moments as well:)
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    5:35pm
    I hope Joe doesn't read this ??
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    5:37pm
    Ay ?? Hang on !! He just went over there on a Fact Finding Junta !!??..
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    5:40pm
    Kato ..How long since You had a Sunday Roast Leg of Lamb in Australia ?? I haven't turned the Oven on here for 6 Years now !!..
    Kato
    30th Jul 2014
    8:49pm
    Particolor - sorry to hear that but yes you are right it is an expensive taste not fulfilled that often these day's.
    bookwyrm
    3rd Aug 2014
    12:19am
    When I was a kid mum would cook the roast lamb dinner and then we would also have roast lamb sandwiches the next day. Never cook it nowadays.
    Mar
    30th Jul 2014
    1:06pm
    Ericjoan. Yes and it has been 9 months of fumbling, bumbling inadequate policies. Every day some ridiculous new idea to persecute the poorest in our society. The co-payment is only a tip of the Iceberg. This government is totally out of touch with the average Aussie. I vote for whoever supports the fairest, most decent policies, to support a sound, just Australia. It's just not happening, it's not even holding it together. Some of the legislation proposed is the most ridiculous I have ever seen (ie people having to make 40 job applications a month)!!! There is roughly only 30 days in each month. I live in a large retirement village and many of the retirees say they won't visit the doctor unless they are dying.Is that a good proposition. Or maybe that's what this Government wants! What's happening to this country??
    Sceptic
    30th Jul 2014
    1:53pm
    What utter rubbish. Tell us just which of the things that you are complaining about from the current Government have actually been enacted.
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    4:32pm
    We need the Democrats Back to keep the Basteds Honest ??
    Kato
    30th Jul 2014
    4:38pm
    Don Chip - would have sorted em out,
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    4:52pm
    30 days hath September April June and November !!
    All the rest have 31 !!
    Except February which Haveth 28 !! So You can Apply for 2 jobs a day for 20 days and Spend the other eight days on the Couch !!..Problem Solved !!
    Kato
    30th Jul 2014
    5:12pm
    me thinks you are to kindeth.
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    5:24pm
    Yes Exceptionally so !! I forgot to tell You that You can go to the Pub once every Leap Year !!!
    Kato
    30th Jul 2014
    8:50pm
    What and stand out the front, tongue hanging out , can't afford to go into one.
    bookwyrm
    3rd Aug 2014
    12:22am
    Totally agree with Mar. Anyway, what‘s the Medicare Levy for?
    Hawkeye
    30th Jul 2014
    1:07pm
    Oh how I wish I could go to the doctor for only $7.
    In my country town we don't have any doctors that bulk bill, so we are at the mercy of whatever they wish to charge.
    It currently costs me $17.95 out of pocket gap for each GP visit, and yet (until I retired recently) I still had to pay all my taxes and the Medicare Levy to subsidise you greedy city people for your free visits to go and chat to the doctor a couple times a week. NOT QUITE FAIR IS IT?
    I'm afraid that this $7 co-payment is the one and only piece of Tony and Joe's LIBERAL NAZI PARTY budget that I wholeheartedly agree with EXCEPT that it should be fixed at $7 and it should be universal with no exceptions. This should the get the hypochondriacs and those that go to the doctor for a chat because it's free out of the waiting rooms, thus greatly reducing their burden on the system.
    It would also make the out of pocket charges for country people equitable, and reduce the extra costs to everyone that this and other forms of over-servicing creates.
    Mar
    30th Jul 2014
    1:10pm
    Freadt. That's probably why we have an influx of New Zealanders come to Australia. At least this Government will stop anyone wanting to live here.
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    4:57pm
    Late News... Bondi Faces Crisis !!.. New Zillanders all went home ??
    Adrianus
    2nd Aug 2014
    6:46am
    Kia ora parti, There are probably more Kiwis in OZ than there are in New Zilland so my friend Peg Trotter from kwinslend sis. I'm pleased Tony Abbott didn't agree to pay the dole to holidaying kiwis in OZ. may have pushed my retirement back to say 75? choice bro!
    Reeper
    30th Jul 2014
    2:47pm
    To start with, this conversation would be easier without the Greens who appear to be jumping on any bandwagon going; clutching at straws in reality as they slowly get swallowed up by their own insipidness.
    Health care has never been free. Medicare was never going to make it free and even Bob Hawke acknowledged this when it was introduced. Mr Hawke said that medicare would only reduce costs for the majority and limit them for particular groups, with patient payments likely to increase over the years. Well,the years have passed and without some funding medicare will fail for everyone. The proposed co-payment of $7.00 in real terms is peanuts, little more than a cup of café coffee. I am a pensioner and watch my spending, so I appreciate there are those who will say they can't afford the payment but unless you are visiting the GP a couple of times a week, I am sure there is space in most budgets for this small payment. In reality, this payment will support the continuance of Medicare for the near future and is not a political broken promise or anything like it....just good economical sense
    Tom Tank
    30th Jul 2014
    3:07pm
    Sorry Reeper it is a broken election promise. The "Man" himself made it.
    Adrianus
    31st Jul 2014
    5:55pm
    Well said Reeper!!! You are absolutely correct!!!
    Golden Oldie
    1st Aug 2014
    2:09pm
    Where did you get the idea that this $7 payment will assist Medicare now or in the future. $5 of this is to go towards a Medical Research Fund, and $2 to the doctor for additional administration. The Medical Research Fund will hopefully discover some new cures for current illnesses, and then the cost of treating the patients for these illnesses will also fall on Medicare. Far cheaper to let us oldies die.
    Adrianus
    2nd Aug 2014
    6:34am
    We have to stop sucking the cow is dry!
    unicorn
    30th Jul 2014
    3:57pm
    It is not only the Greens at fault we are becoming more & more like America in the worst ways their health care is non existant or as dear a poison & the pollies here can only see the good from America and are so busy going all the way with JBJ they can't tell the wood from the trees.
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    5:04pm
    Yes they can !!! Those Trees will make Good Wood Chips for the Export Market !!.$$$$$$$...
    Kato
    30th Jul 2014
    5:14pm
    Yep Tone's want Tassie wood and trees.
    speaking of Tassie the swine left it orf the gels swimsuits, rotters.
    KSS
    30th Jul 2014
    7:10pm
    Oh come on! You can't blame Mr Abbott for that Kato. Unless you have definitive proof that he personally approved the uniform design, please keep your accusations to the things that are worthy of them.
    Kato
    30th Jul 2014
    8:57pm
    KSS - the map of Tassie is worthy of them.
    One is unabashedly unrepentant in that all of my accusations are worthy, true or not. just as any politician reserves his/her right to.
    fabbo
    30th Jul 2014
    4:04pm
    I think that Health Insurance should be affordable for everyone no matter their age. Why on earth would you inflict a levy on people who haven't had health cover over the age of 32. Ridiculous!! This is just greed by our government and politicians who fill their pockets with free flights and cars at our expense and retire with a fat payout after only three years of service (wrong name for that!) In the early years of government politicians thought ahead to the future to protect our society but this has now obviously fallen by the wayside.
    Ahjay
    30th Jul 2014
    4:14pm
    I have heard that the death toll in the USA dropped by around 70% when the doctors went on strike a few years ago. If that is true, to keep away may have some benefit.
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    4:37pm
    Band Aid sales went up 200% but Everyone Lived !!
    Kato
    30th Jul 2014
    5:16pm
    was Sir Bob there.
    carmencita
    30th Jul 2014
    4:50pm
    Australia has a health system that has served everybody well. Why change it? While Hockey is harping on rising cost for the elderly hence the dramatic change, is it really necessary to be able to make savings? The government is not doing any cost cutting measure where their offices and allowances are concerned. This government wants the people to shoulder the consequences but they continue their extravagance for themselves. It is apparent that we have elected people with no brains and no affiliation with the plight of general public. We all go down the road of becoming older it's just a matter of time. But why would MPs care, their super is in millions.
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    5:07pm
    Stop Complaining !! And get back to the Heavy Lifting !!
    Nan Norma
    30th Jul 2014
    8:48pm
    carmencita 100% agree with you.
    Young
    30th Jul 2014
    5:01pm
    Kaye mentions that older Australians are paying $1100 on average a year.
    My husband and myself live in a country town and pay nothing a year to visit doctors.
    We only go if absolutely necessary and to get prescriptions for cholesterol lowering tablets and blood thinners.
    We are so lucky to live in Australia.
    Hopefully the $7 payment will unclog the system somewhat as many young parents have no idea of looking after their children and take them to the doctor if they have a scratch on their hand or a bit of a sniffle.
    CindyLou
    30th Jul 2014
    7:25pm
    Totally agree with Val.

    I believe some, repeat some people rush to the doctors, clogging the system. If I want to visit my gp, I sometimes have to wait up to two weeks for an appointment. As well, My gp has closed her books so to speak and previous patients who have not visited the clinic in some time are unable to go to this practice.

    I pay for my visits, pay thousands for private insurance and I believe this co payment is a good policy.
    Kopernicus
    4th Aug 2014
    12:37pm
    Sounds like you have some expertise in diagnosing children Val. Good on you for getting bulk billed, but not all can get this access, it's up to every GP to decide. From my experience the overweening majority under utilize doctors (especially blokes), rather than the opposite. And, many of course simply can't afford private insurance.
    The $7 is part of a punitive package of charges and cuts dolloped out by the govt to thwack the 'leaners' and should be seen in that light.
    It's all about the dogma, to bite and punish the poor and pat the rich for being 'lifters'. The latter sure lift a lot of $$$ from our revenue thru humungous tax concessions, tax lurks and low tax rates and tax cheating eg Packer.
    Kopernicus
    4th Aug 2014
    12:48pm
    And, a quick anecdote. 4 yrs ago my wife had to go to a GP in the UK to treat a nast throat and chest infection. The 2 visits were free, the pathology which discovered a rare bug was free, the bus trip to the chemist was free (for over 60's), the medication was free.

    How come the UK can do it? Perhaps because UK collects ~34% of GDP in tax and Australia only ~26% (3rd lowest in OECD). This govt likes to focus on ripping off low earners instead of seriously well off individuals and businesses.
    Adrianus
    4th Aug 2014
    2:54pm
    UK income tax rates are lower at a top rate of only 45% for income over BP 150,000, which is equal to AUS$270,000. compared to Aussie workers paying a massive 45% on income over $180,000.
    Also, the UK have a VAT at 20% which is twice our GST at only 10%.
    I hardly think the UK example backs your argument Kopernicus.
    The UK would be a great place to live for the wealthy and high income earners.
    Young
    30th Jul 2014
    5:01pm
    Kaye mentions that older Australians are paying $1100 on average a year.
    My husband and myself live in a country town and pay nothing a year to visit doctors.
    We only go if absolutely necessary and to get prescriptions for cholesterol lowering tablets and blood thinners.
    We are so lucky to live in Australia.
    Hopefully the $7 payment will unclog the system somewhat as many young parents have no idea of looking after their children and take them to the doctor if they have a scratch on their hand or a bit of a sniffle.
    mogo51
    30th Jul 2014
    5:08pm
    Medicare type systems throughout the world are not working. This was the case when it was introduced by Whitlam and Co. They knew it wasnt working but did that stop them, absolutely not.
    Pre Medicare nearly everyone was in private health care, when you finished school and went to work, the first thing you did was joina private health fund. Doctors used public hospitals and were not charged, in return, they donated several days a week to operate on ppublic non private health patients 0 it worked fine.
    Medicare entered, Doctors started salivating at the opportunity to rob the government and the public for helath care, got control of the Parliament and have had a great time ever since.
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    5:22pm
    So glad to hear it had a Good Ending !! And everyone Lived Happily Ever After !!
    particolor
    30th Jul 2014
    5:18pm
    I forgot to mention Our Doctor is free too !! We live in New Guineeey and see the local Doctor,He puts on some Coloured Face Paint, Shakes a Stick in the Air and Walah !!..
    I Feel Better Now !!
    musicveg
    30th Jul 2014
    6:59pm
    If I had a well paid job I would happily pay for private insurance, this is what the problem is, those who can afford private health insurance should be compulsory over a certain income.Leaving those who can less afford medical attention (and often the ones who need it due to poor housing, stress and unhealthy food) be able to see a doctor for free.
    CindyLou
    30th Jul 2014
    7:30pm
    People on higher incomes have to pay more tax if they don't have private health cover...It's actually cheaper to have some level of health cover than pay the levy.
    Finni
    30th Jul 2014
    7:24pm
    I would assume that is another one of our governments no new taxes
    *Imagine*
    30th Jul 2014
    9:17pm
    The $7 co-payment ($2 to the doctor to administer it and $5 to the Govt.) has NOTHING TO DO WITH SUPPORTING MEDICARE. The money is supposed to go to a medical future fund that is to be used for medical research to ‘cure cancer’ or said Joe. In the second sentence he announced a funding cut to CSIRO, our major research institution. Go figure. I have raised this before on this site because there is a misconception that the impost will help fund medicare. That is not the Govt’s intention. Please check the history.
    Golden Oldie
    1st Aug 2014
    2:21pm
    Glad to know that someone else on this site remembers what the co-payment is meant for. It has nothing to do with Medicare funding. I would like to know who is going to do the research as the CSIRO has apparently received a funding cut. Talk about confusion. This government couldn't lead a horse to water. Bring on a double dissolution. The "mandate" for the government from the last election is in tatters. They have broken most of their promises for which they were elected. Except of course, the parental leave scheme, and don't forget the $20 billion on untested aircraft for the Defence Forces.
    phaxer
    30th Jul 2014
    11:02pm
    The Unaustralian Way:

    Send Australian jobs offshore to ensure that the genuine unemployed here are fiighting a loosing battle.
    Increase health costs for pensioners to ensure that affordabilibty is becomng beyond their reach.
    Outcome: Governmental Persecution.
    Adrianus
    5th Aug 2014
    9:13am
    How does the government send jobs offshore?
    Kathleen
    31st Jul 2014
    12:38am
    A lady told me she only pays $600 per year for the mdicare levy because she is not in a health fund. She has a good paying job so people using the public hospital system who are well off should be means tested. Private health funds are at least $300 per month for a family. If this government starts to attack Medicare we will head down the path of a two tier system like America. Today I received a tax bill for 2010 to 2011 because this government has started to troll the past tax returns for errors that were overlookd before. Also, when the health funds raised their payments in April this government snuck through a reduction in the rebate of nearly 2%. Hockey is going through the back door to get his money. Make no mistake the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer with this government.
    bookwyrm
    3rd Aug 2014
    12:31am
    Incredible! It should be illegal to issue double dip retrospective tax bills!
    Not Senile Yet!
    31st Jul 2014
    1:25am
    Our previous Governments have fiddled with everything to balance the budget......It is their standing excuse for not being able to manage their budgets......next to inflation and rising costs!!!!
    The truth is they cannot manage their budgets!!!!
    Don't care about the arguments about Left (Labor) or Right Wing (Liberal) Political Ideals/Models.......both are extreme and untenable!!!!
    Our so called Servants are robbing/stealing from the Pantry.....they have taken control of their own payroll.....changed our Medicare....changed our Superannuation......changed Private Health Insurance.....sold jobs off overseas in free-trade agreements.....raised all our taxes but given us less value in return......sold off all the Power, Water, Gas, Public Transport and out-sourced everything possible to Private Enterprise!!!
    They say it is to save Money......but the opposite has happened.....everything is dearer.....and inflation is being hidden in the Restricted Access to basic Real Estate!!!
    We are getting screwed over by our own Governments because they lie to us and we the Mugs believe them!!!
    The current crop of over 50's to the 70's have paid the Most Tax of any Generation to date.....We financed the New Parliament House in Canberra.....and most of the infrastructure that all currently enjoy.....but the Abbot & Costello Yanky Doodle Dandy Puppets want to not provide a Pension in Retirement that allows an affordable one!!!! They now want to lock up our Super based upon their failure to budget for our Pensions.....something they took extra tax from us to provide!!! Let's not mention the work till you are 70 Idiotic and Impractical Policy by these Slimey Con Artists.....nor Mention the enforced Policies regarding searching for non-existent jobs for re-trenched workers!!!!
    Sorry ....but we the people,,,,,...need to STOP giving our votes to the PARTY PUPPETS......we need to send them a clear message.........BO and stop stealing out taxes to fund Private Enterprises!!!!
    We are Not the USA and We do not Like any of their Greed is Good Policies that create a divided Country!!!!
    huffnpuff
    31st Jul 2014
    9:27am
    Not Senile yet, has hit the nail on the head. All governments are all the same, at the end of the day they are only interested in feathering their own nests & brown nosing the big corporations & big business to keep them in power.
    pete@nakedhydroponics
    31st Jul 2014
    10:27am
    What makes me cranky is that when pollies want a pay rise it's always on a percentage basis, but when they want to send a price signal it's a flat rate.
    While I agree that over servicing is a problem, is it only the poor who waste doctors' times?
    A $7 payment would certainly impact on a pensioner, but would it dissuade a politician (on $180k plus) from wasting a doctor's time? I doubt it.
    I would suggest a more equitable solution would be dollar for dollar pay rises when the minimum pay goes up, and so called 'price signals' to be on a percentage of disposable income.
    If $7 for pensioners is fair, then $1000 for politicians should be reasonable.
    particolor
    31st Jul 2014
    10:49am
    NO !! They pay the SAME for things as I do !! Give them $7 Too !!
    CindyLou
    31st Jul 2014
    11:06am
    From my understanding, the $7 payment is for folk who previously paid nothing due to the doctor bulk billing. This would be because these folk have health cards/low income/centrelink recipients.

    The politicians and lots of other people pay to visit their doctor, hence they already pay for their visits do they would never pay only $7 for the visit.
    pete@nakedhydroponics
    31st Jul 2014
    11:21am
    Granted, CindyLou; the question is how much is an effective price signal -to everyone, not just the poor.
    A $7 payment to someone on Newstart would represent a hefty percentage of their weekly disposable income (arguably as much as 100% of the money not needed to pay the weekly bills and longer term accruals).
    Should not our Representatives who want a price signal be willing to pay 100% of their weekly disposable income?
    Comparatively, for someone on $3k+ a week, $1000 for a visit to the Doctor would be quite affordable.
    Paddles
    31st Jul 2014
    4:26pm
    Perhaps one simple way to help our budget shortfall would be for the great unwashed to retract the hand that always seems to be out demanding more and more from Government.

    Economics 101 should be a mandatory subject in schools from about 5th form. Properly handled, it may teach children that one cannot get a quart out of a pint pot (metricated of course).
    pete@nakedhydroponics
    1st Aug 2014
    7:10am
    very true Paddles. Business 101 says you can't pay yourself more than you earn.
    The fascinating thing is, this Abbott government is convinced it is the ones living below the poverty line who are being paid too much, while the ones on $200k+ aren't getting enough.
    ?
    A smile costs 0
    2nd Aug 2014
    2:40pm
    Yes I feel we are on a slippery slope to have a co-payment for GPs- one other thing that really bugs me is that there has never been any inquiry into the huge price paid for funerals - it really can cripple people on fixed incomes !
    Adrianus
    3rd Aug 2014
    11:18am
    It appears that cremation will be the only solution for many of us. Many people may have thought about leaving an untouched sum of money in a bank account but the government now wants us to show activity or else they will take it.
    If your executor is not aware of your rainy day/funeral fund it could stay with the government.
    Fred
    4th Aug 2014
    9:45pm
    It always comes back to the same solution. Ditch State governments, get rid of all the waste and duplication, and we would all be much better off. Probably lower our blood pressures as well!
    pete@nakedhydroponics
    5th Aug 2014
    7:21am
    I would actually argue the opposite: it's when things get too big (corporations, governments) that the people at the bottom are most easily ignored. Immigration and unemployment for instance, I think would be better in the hands of local governments. This would prevent the buildup of individual cultures into voting blocks. Some areas, particularly in the country, would welcome (a small percentage of) migrant labour while other areas -seaside communities- have more than their fair share of unemployed.
    Canberra already has far too much power.
    I think the world would be better off without empires; political or economic.
    fredlet02
    12th Aug 2014
    2:05pm
    yea all typical liberal mob stuff up all the good things that labour gets up an running and 90 % of it all comes from the ole farts that useta pay a bluddy side more in taxes etc than all these younger do 2 day
    unicorn
    2nd Nov 2014
    6:58am
    If the greedy government cab't balance it's budget any other way they're going to have an awaful lot of sick people in the country. I for oenw qill be going to the doctor's a lot less than I do now! They will also miss out on my drugs too.