$7 GP co-payment could bypass parliament

An email from The Federal Government to medical software companies, instructing them to incorporate the $7 GP fee into their products, has signalled the intention to implement the fee, with or without parliamentary approval.

The co-payment, which is yet to be considered by parliament, is expected to meet a swift defeat in the Senate, with Labor, Greens and the key Palmer United Party crossbenchers all set to vote against it.

The Federal Government recently reintroduced the indexation of the petrol on excise via regulation, and Health Minister Peter Dutton has previously refused to rule out introducing the $7 GP fee in this way.

“The Australian Government Department of Human Services (Human Services) anticipates implementing the Patient Contribution Budget Measure from 1 July 2015,” the email says.

Read more from the Herald Sun.

Opinion: Fee will find a way through

The Federal Government’s email to medical software providers has signalled its intention to push through the $7 GP co-payment.

The process of changing software to accommodate such a complicated fee will cost software providers millions of dollars, and will require the whole seven months provided to make such changes. With this in mind, it’s unlikely the Federal Government would instruct the software providers to prepare for the $7 GP co-payment unless they were confident that the fee will be introduced.

At a time when the Labor opposition has reached its highest polling result since April 2010, it’s difficult to imagine how the introduction of the $7 GP fee will have a positive effect for the Coalition. The latest two-party preferred Roy Morgan poll has the Opposition 9 per cent ahead of the Coalition, with 54.5 per cent of the vote, compared with 45.5 per cent. If introduced, I expect this gap will widen even further.

What do you think? Will the Federal Government try to bypass the Senate and push through the $7 GP fee via regulation? Do they have the right to push through such a fee? Will you reduce the number of visits to your GP if the $7 co-payment is introduced?

Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).