$7 GP co-payment on chopping block

Due to the inevitable defeat of the legislation in the Senate, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has all but walked away from his government’s $7 GP co-payment proposal. The Age is reporting that Mr Abbott has privately conceded defeat and that he has dumped the policy.

Earlier in the week, Mr Abbott spoke of the Government’s intention to clear the political barnacles clinging to the hull of the Government’s ship, by axing the $7 co-payment, which would help the Government regain some much needed momentum, moving into the New Year.

The Coalition has denied the rumours, however. “The Government’s policy on the GP co-payment remains,” Senator Abetz told ABC radio this morning. A spokesman for Health Minister Peter Dutton has also dismissed the reports.

Read more at the ABC.

Read more at The Age.

Opinion: Common-sense prevails

The $7 GP co-payment policy was undoubtedly one of the Government’s most ambitious pieces of legislation to date, and it should come as no surprise to anyone that it has also been its most unpopular. Older Australians were to be the hardest hit by the co-payment, so the news that the policy has been shelved is positive for all YOURLifeChoices members.

Mr Abbott’s actions this week have shown a side that many didn’t expect; a side which is willing to concede defeat when losing a battle in order to fight another day. We also saw Mr Abbott use a trick employed by the last Government, targeting the Opposition’s current stance which has been largely negative to all suggested reforms.

“This is a Labor Party which has entirely given up … they’ve got no plans, no policies, they’re just a chorus of complaint,” Mr Abbott said.

While the $7 GP co-payment legislation appears to be dead in the water, expect to hear of it in the future by another name, at another time, as the Government has every intention of attaching a tax to GP visits.

What do you think? Is the Government making the right decision by cutting its losses and scrapping the co-payment policy? Will we see a similar policy reintroduced in the near future? Do you think Tony Abbott will last as leader of the Coalition to contest the next Federal Election?