Call to drop GP fee for pensioners

Former policy consultant to Tony Abbott has called for the fee to be dropped.

Terry Barnes, former policy consultant to Tony Abbott and the person responsible for recommending a GP fee to the Commission of Audit, came out yesterday and suggested that payments to carers and pensioners should be increased to soften the impact of the fee. This compensation could come in the form of a “one-off adjustment of $70,” said Mr Barnes.

The Coalition will need the support of either Labor, the Greens, the Palmer United Party, plus other crossbenchers to pass the measure through the Senate. The Greens, Labor and Palmer United Party have continued to strongly oppose the fee. Treasurer Joe Hockey and Health Minister Peter Dutton have both ruled out compromise on the GP fee.

Read more from SMH.com.au
Read more from The West Australian


Opinion: Compensation isn’t good enough

The GP fee is slowly sinking with support from outside of the Coalition almost non-existent. While providing compensation to pensioners and carers is a noble idea, it won’t help pass the measure or provide help to those affected by the fee.

Former consultant to Tony Abbott, Terry Barnes, has it all wrong when suggesting that compensation needs to be offered up to square the ledger for those who are struggling on their current income. As long as there is a $7 fee for visiting the doctor, no matter whether that amount has been covered by compensation, the burden of spending that money will linger in the minds of those who can least afford it and will result in less visits to the doctor.

The only logical solution is for the Government to take the extra step in this matter and to remove the fee entirely for pensioners and carers. While this move may significantly dent the growth potential of the Medial Research Future Fund and push back the $20 billion target from 2022 to a later date, there would still be huge growth potential for the fund.

What do you think? Is the $7 GP co-payment fair? Should pensioners and carers be compensated for the fee or should they simply not be charged the fee? Is the Federal Government being naïve suggesting they won’t negotiate on the fee structure?





    COMMENTS

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    Not Amused
    17th Jun 2014
    10:03am
    I don't know how a $7 co-payment helps repair the budget when $5 of it is supposed to go to to medical research. Given what's happening in the Middle East, with jihadists and terrorists fanning out across the world, I don't mind paying the $7 because at least it's for something worthwhile and I'm grateful the new government has stopped the boating Centrelink seeking illegals and if that's all this government does it's more than enough for me.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    10:13am
    It makes people think twice before going as they have to put skin into the game.
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    10:22am
    None of the $7 will go to repairing the budget. $5 to the Medical Research Fund the other $2 to the doctor for his services. If he decided not to charge the $7 to his patients who are unable to afford it, he doesn't get his rebate from the government.
    Its just another impost on the ones who can least afford it.
    How much ends up in the Research Fund will depend on how much paper-work and how many people are involved in administering it.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    1:54pm
    I'm glad that somebody other than myself understands that the budget is not "being repaired". This is another Abbott lie as he slings off what Australians want to hear. The only useful outcome about the payment is that people may stop running to the doctor for a social and this would be a positive outcome.
    Adrianus
    17th Jun 2014
    4:51pm
    Not Amused it's complex. What if you could go to an all you can eat smorgasbord which was free if you couldn't pay. The people who arrive early and go every day would leave nothing for you and me. Eventually the free smorgasbord would have to close because it is not providing the emergency meal for all the poor people. However, the owner decides on a great way to keep it open so everyone can get a meal when they are broke? He tells his manager that if he thinks some patrons can afford to make a modest payment towards the meal then its ok to charge them. As a result nearly half of the patrons pay a small amount and everybody is able to get a meal when they need it the most.
    particolor
    17th Jun 2014
    7:24pm
    They are not worried about Centrelink anymore Some Smart AZZ Lawyer has a New way to Get Money now !! Sue The Australian Government for not pulling them out of the Drink fast enough in a Cylone ???...
    Paddles
    17th Jun 2014
    9:59pm
    Not Amused

    Oh for Chrissake, I habitually come onto this site to try to get a feeling for what people are thinking and (worse) what they are saying.
    Over time, I have seen many irrelevant and stupid comments, completely off theme, but I must say that you are deserving of some award for having some sort of a brain fart.
    oasis1frog
    17th Jun 2014
    10:09am
    Everyone knows if insurance doesn't have excess, people will make claims left right and centre. There is nothing else for free, so why should seeing a GP. The only people making $zillions now are the medicos ! The only way to stop the rort of Medicare (doctor's bank !) is to have a strong presence of publicly employed doctors.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    10:14am
    Great. You understand the problem.
    Hasbeen
    17th Jun 2014
    10:10am
    I think the idea is to discourage the number of people, pensioners & younger, who go to the doctor monthly.

    Many of these are a social, rather than medical visit.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    10:14am
    Spot on.
    Ruthie
    17th Jun 2014
    10:25am
    Have you done an in depth study to prove that point?
    iamnotold
    17th Jun 2014
    12:36pm
    Anything that works to get rid of those time wasters must be good.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    1:55pm
    Ruthie: I'm sure that you could easily find anecdotal evidence if you wanted to. I have and it is true from what I can see.
    catsahoy
    18th Jun 2014
    12:33am
    HASBEEN,, what of people like myself who have to go to the doctor at least twice a month for scripts, as i cannot get repeats, i also have a blood test each month, another $7, then pay for scripts, i know we have the safety nett, but not all scripts are covered, one tablet i took[ which i had to stop, cost me $65 a month, as not on the pbs, i assure you i dont go to chat, i go because i have to,
    Anonymous
    21st Jun 2014
    10:50am
    My late father was one of them.
    He had a weekly appointment to see his doctor (who I might add was eventually disbarred).
    There was no reason for my father to go every week at all.
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    10:11am
    There should be no co-payment of $7 whatsoever to carers and pensioners. Once you start trying to water down this proposed policy to something lesser or give compensation for it, it has already lost its impact.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    10:16am
    Even pensioners abuse a free system. How do I know? I have a mother who goes to the doctor almost every week. Whilst she does have some issues she complains that about over servicing but still goes as she is scared that not going may be a problem to her.
    The system is broken.
    Graeme
    17th Jun 2014
    11:04am
    Mick, why don't you dob her in, you seem to against anyone getting anything they haven't paid for
    biddi
    17th Jun 2014
    4:35pm
    Mick : My mother loved going to doctors and specialists. It was her hobby.
    Graeme : why should anyone get something they haven't paid for?? Medicare has been paid for with our taxes n'est pas?
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    4:45pm
    Oui.
    particolor
    17th Jun 2014
    7:37pm
    Mick.. I have just dropped a Brick on My foot and it is all Swollen ! .. Do You think I should go to the Doctor and waste Taxpayers Money, or just buy a Bigger size Shoe ??
    Kato
    17th Jun 2014
    8:44pm
    Particolor, just cut the toe's out. or the heel.
    biddi
    18th Jun 2014
    12:19am
    Must say, I get a load of laughs on YourLifeChoices forums :)
    One big happy family ...... ?
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    10:13am
    Whilst I deplore the fact that this government has lied about this new tax on average Australians I support a co payment and even suggest that it should have been more, with the exception of those with chronic illnesses.
    Whilst I understand that some in the community may be outraged by the co payment the country needs this because many Australians have consumed the health care system with a handout mentality aided and abetted by doctors who oversubscribe to make their income.
    Whilst I have no issues with those who go to the doctor for genuine ailments I do have issues with those who go for a sniffle or a minor cough or the like and who will not even give it a week or two to recover naturally. The body is a wonderful repairer of damage and illnesses and putting visits to the doctor on the tab needs to be reserved for real illnesses as it is never free. Somebody has to pay. But I imagine that this is yet another 'right' with no responsibility which Australians have demanded as they go about their lives impervious to the fact that our worsening economic position may be due to our own attitudes and behaviour.
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    10:47am
    I wonder if there are some statistics on who rorts and who doesn't. I'm 73 and can count on my two hands the number of visits I have made to a doctor since I started work in 1957. I feel if I have to go to a doctor $7 will not do too much harm to my budget, but when I have not rorted the system, paid the Medicare Levy all my working life which benefitted others, I just feel the $7 fee should be squashed. The majority of people who do not "rort" are being targeted again. I doubt the $5 go into the Medical Research Fund will be watered down by administration costs and bureaucrats deciding where to invest the moneys. The $2 going to the doctor
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    10:50am
    is for his administration costs but if he decided not to charge a patient the $7 because he knew of the person's financial inability to pay, he then loses his normal rebate for bulk billing. Its the same with most governments, they bring new policies in and don't even collect the moneys, they leave it up to businesses and doctors and the like to become tax collectors.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    4:52pm
    MITZY: I remember when my family was young that two of our neighbours were at the doctor with their children all the time, often because the kids were running around without shoes during winter and got a cold. They always also seemed to have ear and throat infections as well as stomach ailments. It appeared to be more a case of neglect than a real medical problem.
    We all pay for 'free' health care but few of us have a responsibility to use the system for what it was designed: for medical emergency.
    particolor
    17th Jun 2014
    8:00pm
    Did You tell the neighbour to get them Shoes, Ear Muffs and Learn to Cook ??
    Adrianus
    17th Jun 2014
    8:48pm
    How is it that GP's are really busy on Mondays? Does their medical emergency get really bad by Monday?
    Kato
    17th Jun 2014
    8:52pm
    Fair suck of the sauce bottle Frank, even GP'S have Monday itis. and hangovers.
    particolor
    17th Jun 2014
    9:47pm
    Frank its all the Super Fit Sports People in From Their Self Inflicted Week End Injurious Activities !! ..
    Ruthie
    17th Jun 2014
    10:22am
    The co-payment fee is totally unfair. On one hand Hockey says that the fee is to help the bottom line of Medicare, while on the other hand we learn that none of it is going to help Medicare, but rather build a fund for medical research - financed by the poor and sick it seems. Of course, we will need scientists for medical research, but they are bound to leave Australia because of cruel cuts to scientific bodies, such as the CSIRO. The Coalition is drip feeding information to the public and while putting forward the idea of compensation of a miserly $70 to pensioners and carers, I believe that money that goes towards helping the less able and for carers is to be abolished. How much further will this fascist government go to fatten the wallets of the rich and privileged, while denigrating the less well off and targeting them to carry an unfair burden? Joe Hockey's address last week was absolutely appalling and disgusting as well as being divisive. Apparently he would have us believe that we have a nation of lifters and leaners (his description), the leaners being those that rely on government assistance. He forgets, most conveniently that he himself, according to his description was a leaner when he attended university and led protests for free university education. Ironic! He certainly has no concept of the Australian psyche of a fair go for everyone. The $70 compensation suggestion does not cut to the heart of the matter - pensioners are being hit from every direction with the co-payment, higher costs for prescriptions, a higher safety net level, the loss of concessions - worth hundreds of dollars per year for pensioners - used for car registration, power, water, rates, transport, phone etc. Along with that, it is proposed that pensioners no longer be supported to get free hearing aids or spectacles. Maybe they think if we cannot see or hear, we will forget. Then we have the changing of the indexation of pensions linked to the CPI, not the basic wage. This will amount to an effective cut to pensions and within 10 years pensioners will be $160 per fortnight worse off. And don't forget, eventually people will have to work to the age of 70. A $70 compensation package! Does Abbott and his stupid cronies really believe pensioners will thank him?
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    11:03am
    Agree Ruthie:
    And, with respect to aged pensions being indexed by CPI instead of a percentage of MALE average earnings a government is always a step or two ahead. Yesterday credible statistics were published that MALE AVERAGE EARNINGS are expected to increase substantially in the next few years, of course our pensions would have benefitted from this. Inflation is expected to chug along at much the same as it currently is, hence the change to CPI from 2017. Let's hope there is enough "gumption" from the independents and others to quash both the medical impost as well as the change to indexation of pensions.
    Dotty
    17th Jun 2014
    11:38am
    I agree wholly with both of you and as I am an invalid and on the aged pension then I along with other,s on a pension will be sorely hit by this Budget!
    "IE" Doctor,s Petrol, prescriptions, Registration,s water, electricity,Phone Etc !
    and then add the non rise in pension to some of the male wage,s and just the Cpi and we will all be 6 ft under and maybe that is what Hockey wants so that he can give himself another few thousand dollars a week rise and blame that on inflation !! Dotty
    KSS
    17th Jun 2014
    12:16pm
    Ruthie the 'miserly compensation of $70' as you put it actually fully compensates someone for the 10 co-payment visits they make before the fee is waived. How is this miserly when it fully covers the extra expense? Are you saying you should be compensated even more than the extra cost of a visit to the doctor?
    Aurora60
    17th Jun 2014
    12:47pm
    Consider those struggling on Newstart allowance too. It's less than the pension yet we are going to get hit with the same charges and loss of concessions.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    1:59pm
    If nothing else Ruthie you recognise that this government is not working for average Australians or the country. I find it sad that many ordinary people on this website seem to have little understanding of this as they regurgitate the lies and misinformation from Abbott and co.
    Help the nation. Vote for a decent Independent in your area and send both sides the wake up call they need.
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    2:30pm
    Hi Mick: Just to lighten the load a little, not everyone has a decent Independent in their electorate, we could end up with a bloke like Ricky Muir.
    My MP is the currently newly appointed NSW Treasurer, Andrew Constance and federally we did have Mike Kelly, but he lost narrowly to Hendy last year on a recount of votes.
    Both the Liberal/Labor candidates have been pretty o.k. and we have been one of those bellwether seats for eons. I couldn't see myself voting for anything but Labor or Liberal for my electorate, its just a matter of how you assess the policies and of course what we are posturing about at present is so many things in the budget were not forecast and are so unfair. It was noted today in the SMH that there are more middle income people putting their support behind the pensioners and welfare recipients who appear to be doing more of this "heavy lifting" than the rest of the country, that shows at least some of the people have empathy for the worse-off than themselves.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    4:59pm
    MITZY: Ricky Muir got in on 0.5% of the primary vote. This should not be permitted in politics but it suits Labor and Liberal to not change the system.
    I agree that not all electorates have a good Independent. My only advice in this case is to vote for whoever you think will do a good job remembering that Labor and Liberal candidates are essentially stooges anyway who just distribute what money they are given. They do not for the most part have a voice in their own parties.
    I friend of mine once said that it mattered not who you voted for as long as it was not Labor or Liberal because the important thing was to let the duopoly know that the public has had enough so that they either fix themselves or become extinct. At any rate the most stupid of candidates are advised by heads of staff who earn a lot more money then pollies earn so it becomes a matter of acting on good, or bad, advice. My friend reckoned that you could vote for Billy the Blacksmith and have a better outcome than we have been seeing for a long time.
    Worth a bit of thought MITZY.
    particolor
    17th Jun 2014
    7:56pm
    Billy the Blacksmith first time in His life
    Went home Cold Sober to His Darling Wife
    Astonished She told him Your early my dear !
    Then He broke down and told Her
    The Blogs have no Cheer !!
    Kato
    17th Jun 2014
    8:46pm
    That's cause they wanted a co payment for cheer.
    particolor
    17th Jun 2014
    9:49pm
    7 Bucks be enough Kato ??
    Kato
    18th Jun 2014
    12:47pm
    Well yes ,As long as five bucks goes to research, Particolor.
    BrianP
    17th Jun 2014
    10:40am
    REMOVE GP FEE for Pensioners and Carers.

    Comment from Brian Parkes of the Australian Voice Party. We need your support to get this through. Go to our website and join us in our fight to get the Government to put people first.
    Adrianus
    17th Jun 2014
    11:15am
    Brian is bulk billing going to stop?
    Patriot
    17th Jun 2014
    12:31pm
    What about for the young (or any other on Benefits for that matter) who are on social security support because the current - and previous governments - have exported THEIR jobs to other countries.
    Shouldn't they also be entitled to the abandonment of this fee.
    WE HAVE TO FIX THE WHOLE COUNTRY AND NOT JUST THE PENSIONERS.
    Aurora60
    17th Jun 2014
    1:00pm
    It would be easier to be able to complete the form on line.
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    1:08pm
    Patriot: Yes we have to fix the whole country but the government is targeting the lower income earners and pensioners moreso than the ones who can afford the $7 co-payment. This one item in the budget means those on lower incomes are losing 5% of their pension/earnings and the high income earners are losing 0.03%. Where is the justice? Even the high income earners who will be charged the levy on their incomes have means of reducing their income to BELOW THE $180,000 income levy where it is supposed to kick-in with trusts, salary sacrifice, car purchases, superannuation etc.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    2:02pm
    Good luck Brian. Perhaps give your policies so that people can judge if you are worth their vote or not. Also, where your preferences would go is very important too.
    I have been advocating that people vote for Independents for some time as I understand how the system works and that voters are just the play things of both parties. This needs to change.
    Nutriwise
    17th Jun 2014
    4:46pm
    Does the exclusion apply not only to pensioners but also to people receiving Austudy. I have a chronic condition that requires me to visit the doctor for medicines and tests. I have to go without food to afford my medications ( I'm not joking). If a co-payment is required I won't be able to afford to go to the doctor as welfare is the only money I have. Before I was made redundant two years ago i worked full time and my taxes helped support the health system. It seems rather ludicrous that now I am on welfare and need the doctor I may not be able to afford to go. B ut maybe that is what is wanted. It seems that as a population we are being punished by this government for ageing. Maybe if we can't afford to go to the doctor and just shut up and die the government will be happy.
    Adrianus
    18th Jun 2014
    11:26am
    Hello Brian. Are you there?
    Gee Whiz
    17th Jun 2014
    10:43am
    Does anybody really believe that the $7 fee will go to something Abbot and Hockey made up called the Medical Research Future Fund? Are we really that naive?

    These people are habitual liars. Nothing they say can be trusted.

    But beside that, how can politicians and bureaucrats earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year conceivably have any idea how people on struggle street survive on the minimum wage, the pension, or a carers miserable income.

    And yet these are the morons telling us we are have never had it so good and should take a cut in our incomes.

    The Remuneration Tribunal tells us that the total salary bill for members of Parliament per year is $41,694, 311. You can do the math what that works out per member, but remember this does not include all of their other perks, superannuation, trips around the world, or the extra pay for siting on committees.

    I would like to see these over paid egomaniacs walk a mile in the shoes of some of the less well off in society and see how long they would last.
    Adrianus
    17th Jun 2014
    4:57pm
    They did say they would stop the boats. There hasn't been a boat arrive for 6 months.
    particolor
    17th Jun 2014
    8:15pm
    Gosh our Navy is Accurate !!!
    Kato
    17th Jun 2014
    8:50pm
    probably a good thing Frank, otherwise we would have more of them suing the Gov't, or who else they can think of,
    Adrianus
    18th Jun 2014
    12:22pm
    particolor it is the same navy we had during the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd government.

    Kato, I know the human rights activists don't share this view, but what the heck. Does it make sense that we hire some high priced QC's at $3,000 per hour to help them sue us?
    robmur
    17th Jun 2014
    10:44am
    Barnes' idea of a $70 adjustment is down right stupid. In the period of 12 months, what is $70? It would be meaningless in the full yearly aged pension amount. But ask a pensioner to pay $7 every time they visit the local GP, then there is a concern that the pensioner might not go to the doctor because of that cost and when it is very necessary to do so. If the government is concerned about the blow out in the cost of Medicare, then maybe the over prescribing of appointments by doctors needs closer attention and policing. Our GP is free and easy about us making appointments to see him. I often wonder whether they are all necessary, or is he ensuring he maintains a healthy income? It isn't a good thing to say that about a doctor, but we just get the feeling that some extra appointments aren't necessary. If $5 is supposed to go towards medical research, does that include research into better medication or is it just "medical" only?
    Dotty
    17th Jun 2014
    11:40am
    And mind you this is a one off payment the $70 . Dotty
    scouserdog
    17th Jun 2014
    10:50am
    Many of us are already paying far more than that to see a GP - my GP charges $80 a visit and I don't know of any in Canberra which bulk bill. I am far more concerned about having to pay up front for x-rays, etc.
    KSS
    17th Jun 2014
    12:20pm
    Agree scousedog. I also pay around the $80 per doctor visit now. It is also $10 for a repeat prescription even if you don't need to see the doctor to get it. $300 to see a specialist, another $300ish for certain types of imaging/x-rays...... I wish I was only going to have to pay $7 for all this.
    particolor
    17th Jun 2014
    8:13pm
    Doctor Granny in The Beverly Hillbilly's doesn't charge anything !!!
    Kato
    17th Jun 2014
    8:56pm
    That's Joe's' granmaw, yo talkin down Particolor.
    particolor
    17th Jun 2014
    9:53pm
    Should be Tossed in the Seement Pond !!!
    Adrianus
    17th Jun 2014
    11:07am
    Is bulk Billing being scrapped? I pay between $70 and $120 for a visit to the GP and get most of that back from Medicare. I don't think it is a good idea to have anything free. If smorgasbords were free we would all be lifetime members of Jenny Craig.
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    11:45am
    Up until the last three years, I hardly ever visited a doctor all my working life. I now go to my doctor once a year for an annual check-up and he sends me off for blood tests etc.
    He currently charges me $60 for a visit. I pay it with my card from my savings and the receptionist transfers it to Medicare and immediately Medicare transfers me the rebate of $36.30 directly to my savings account. So, I actually pay $23.70 for my visit. $70 up to $120 seems a lot of money for a GP Visit?
    I have paid PAYE tax all my life plus Medicare Levy from when it was introduced. I gave away paying for private hospital/medical as I was paying out so much and getting nothing back because luckily I have been a very health individual. I feel I have contributed for the benefit of others for such a long long time and don't regret it either. Surely in this modern era of technology the governments can go back through your medical history and see who is and who is not a "rorter".
    Make the rorters pay, not the genuine pensioners, carers, disability recipients etc.
    KSS
    17th Jun 2014
    12:27pm
    The problem is Mitzy, any money you may have paid into medicare through the medicare levy is not sitting in an account labelled 'Mitzy' waiting for you to draw on when you may need to. It has been used to subsidise others who have made more visits than you - some of which may have been unnecessary (the social visit as someone else mentioned above). That's what happens. Just because you can (visit the doctor) doesn't mean you should (visit the doctor). Unfortunately the truth is that some people will take advantage of any system especially if they think it is free. BUT there is no such thing as a free lunch.
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    1:32pm
    KSS I wasn't concerned about what I have paid into Medicare for the benefit of others and as I indicated, I don't regret it, nor even the fact that I had private health cover for many years but abandoned it due to rising costs. I consider myself lucky to have been extremely healthy and I still am. What Tom Tank is stating below regarding the government's statements being invalid as to the number of people claiming welfare etc. has been confirmed by a 12 year study that welfare is decreasing. We have been hoodwinked once again.
    The fact that some members of the government, independents, etc. are wanting the $7 co-payment to be abolished for pensioners and carers, shows that the whole policy should be abandoned for everyone. There has to be other means of implementing and funding a future Medical Research Fund. Scrap the PPL for one such item, and leave the current lower benefit scheme in place. At least the recipients all then get the same benefit. There has been many taxes raised by governments over time which have not been utilised for the full benefit for what they were originally raised for.
    particolor
    17th Jun 2014
    8:24pm
    KSS.. Miss a TAX Payment and see if there isn't an account labelled 'KSS' !!??
    Adrianus
    18th Jun 2014
    11:29am
    Is bulk billing being scrapped???
    thommo
    17th Jun 2014
    12:00pm
    I go to our gp 3 times a year for diabetes type2,i see the practice nurse who tells me the results of the blood test,and i see the doctor who says my blood sugar is 6.2,has been for years!I am told i MUST see the podiatrist every year,MUST have my eye's checked the same,and all of these consultations are paid by medicare.Personally i believe i am being overserviced to buggery,and when the $7 comes in i'll go once a year!!!
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    1:45pm
    Thommo: I had a cousin with diabetes2 and she is 6 feet under now.
    If you have diabetes it leads to other complications and diseases if it is not regularly checked. Whatever you are doing to keep your count stable, keep doing it and take the advice from your doctor to see the podiatrist, optician etc.
    My cousin ended up losing two toes, then a leg, then an operation for her kidneys which were not functioning properly which resulted in her having a stroke whilst recovering from the kidney operation. She never got to go back home to live and was transferred from hospital to nursing home and died after 14 months in the nursing home. If this insidious co-payment is legislated you will be going (as you say) 3 times a year for your diabetes check, once a year to the podiatrist and once a year to the optician, plus once a year for the blood test (6 visits = $42.00). Isn't $42 per year well worth the $7 co-payment if it happens. Also, if the co-payment is a non-event (as suggested) for pensioners and carers nothing will change for you. I still think it is not worth the paper it has been written on and there are plenty of other ways to skin a cat.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    2:12pm
    I go once every 3 years and thank the Lord. Your intention is exactly what the idea behind the co payment is. Make it be a 'cost' of some sort, albeit small, and people will stop wasting.
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    2:40pm
    mick - if thommo does as you suggest he could be 6 feet under just like my cousin. Diabetes is not a disease you can play roulette with.
    particolor
    17th Jun 2014
    8:30pm
    Mick.. If Doctors relied on Me for a living they would be Begging on the Street Corner with a Tin Cup !! They should pay ME $7 dollars each time I don't go ??
    Tom Tank
    17th Jun 2014
    12:08pm
    This suggestion really shows that the government realise they are in real difficulty. They have now been found to have made up claims about the number of people of welfare which have now been proved to be untrue etc etc.
    It defies believe that they think that compensating pensioners and carers will be effective. It still leaves the doctor's receptionists with more work without any compensation for that work.
    Common sense suggests that that payment be cancelled for pensioners and carers BUT that would be a backdown by the government and a loss of face for Tony and Joe. On the bright side it would give more work for their spin doctors but then they are flat out too. Perhaps the pollies should have to make a co-payment, from party funds, for that type of doctor and save the poor old tax payer.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    2:14pm
    I suspect that pensioners may be the most over serviced section of the community so better to leave it in place Tom.
    Tom Tank
    17th Jun 2014
    3:43pm
    My objection to the co-payment is that it breaks a promise that, as is now obvious, was mage purely to get elected. It also is probably the thin edge of the wedge in the move to dismantle the universality of Medicare.
    Another facet is that a recent survey by Oxfam shows that the 9 wealthiest Australians possess greater combined wealth than the lower 60% of the all Australians. This is a staggering figure and clearly shows that those 9 individuals should be carrying more of the burden, if the financial situation is as dire as Tony and Joe are proclaimning.
    Kato
    17th Jun 2014
    4:39pm
    I think politicians are more over serviced than pensioners, Mick.
    and they make no co payments.
    Leslieeade
    17th Jun 2014
    12:20pm
    can some one please explain why carers need the $7.00 removed , carers get a wage along with carers payment some even have other jobs, yes i am disabled and have a carer they are entitle to carer allowance and wages,
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    2:19pm
    Leslieeade: Not all CARERS are equal. Myself as a carer for my husband was unable to go to work for 10 years of the 24 years he suffered with MS because in those latter years he became so immobile he needed constant help. I looked after him for all those last 10 years full-time at home and when he got so bad the last twelve months of his life I had to put him in a sling and lift him everywhere all over our home. I did this willingly and he was only in our local hospital for 2 days before he died. In those last ten years of his life I was on full carer payment.
    We went to Centrelink one day and the gentleman we saw said I should also be in receipt of carer allowance which was about $85.00 per fortnight at the time.
    That carer allowance is not means-tested so all who receive it, get exactly the same payment. However, the carer payment is means tested in exactly the same way as the age pension and therefore if you pass the means test you receive the full carer payment amount which is the same amount of payment as the age pension.
    However, if you are also working and have other income/assets which come into the equation, you are accordingly paid a lesser amount of carer payment according to your situation.
    There are so many families with extremely disabled children where one parent would have no opportunity of working while the other parent who did go to work would find it difficult in this day and age to make ends meet with the ongoing medical costs of a disabled child as well as taking care of the rest of his/her family.

    This co-payment is one item in a whole list of items that are currently proposed but not implemented so together with the federal government not giving the state governments the funds to help them cover a lot of other benefits they have come to rely upon such as car registration, licence renewals, council and water rate rebates, electricity/gas rebates etc. etc. upping the ante on payments to visit the optician and at the same time reducing the amount of the medicare rebate so that you have to pay and retrieve your money but at the same time allowing the optician to split and charge for some of the services they provide which are currently covered under your eye examination by medicare.
    The recent Queensland Government's budget indicated it was not going to assist people with these payments but there was such a ground swell of protesters they reinstated the benefits.
    The NSW government has said it will somehow fund these benefits in the budget they are currently bringing down today, but this is only for the current year's budget. However, they are intending to lobby the Federal Government to reinstate the funds required to assist us into the future.
    Now, if you also bring into the equation a reduction in the amount of pension you will receive ongoing from 2017 because it will be calculated on CPI instead of a percentage of average MALE earnings (which in recent studies show MALE earnings are increasing much faster and higher than female and basic wage earners) you will soon be "up the creek without a paddle"!!!
    Kato
    17th Jun 2014
    4:50pm
    unless you care for some one twenty four seven, then you have no right to suggest or say anything, as you have no idea what is involved. I REPEAT NO IDEA.
    MITZY
    18th Jun 2014
    10:59am
    Kato: I hope you are referring to Leslieeade with your comment and not shouting at me. I certainly had a 24 hours per day caring job and the few hours sleep I got was so light, listening for events to happen, it was not quality sleep. When I think of what I contended with, I really don't know how I coped. It took me nearly 18 months to return to some form of physical and mental normality, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. If the shoe was on the other foot, my husband would have done exactly the same for me. On top of looking after my husband I had his elderly parents living with me. His Dad died at 91 and his Mother died at 89 and they passed away five and six years respectively into those 10 years I was nursing my husband, their son. And, believe it or not, their daughter was so self-centred she visited her parents once a fortnight for a couple of hours. She even said to me one day, I don't know how you do what you do, and they aren't even your parents, I couldn't contemplate doing it.
    Kato
    18th Jun 2014
    12:44pm
    No not to you MITZY.
    pete@nakedhydroponics
    17th Jun 2014
    12:36pm
    since it has been established fairly conclusively that prevention is cheaper than a cure, if there must be a co payment there should at least be one free visit allowed say every 3 months, for everyone.
    OTOH, when Abbott says there needs to be a "price signal" who is he talking about? Will he and his parliamentary mates be dissuaded from over servicing by a $7. payment? I don't think so.
    Price signals are aimed squarely at the poor.
    Isn't it interesting that when it comes to pay rises it's always on a percentage basis ($1 for average worker, $100 for politicians) but when it comes to costs, suddenly it's a dollar basis.
    Aussiefrog
    17th Jun 2014
    12:47pm
    Spot on Pete
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    3:05pm
    You've got a good handle on this pete. Perhaps 2 free visits a year would be fair unless you had a chronic condition.
    Aussiefrog
    17th Jun 2014
    12:45pm
    People who cannot afford the doctor fee will flood the public hospital system and it will cost tax payers more, so this not the solution!
    KSS
    17th Jun 2014
    1:03pm
    If you have ever had the misfortune to need to go to the emergency department you will know that people already do attend for the most minor of problems (colds, headaches, toothache, minor cuts and bruises etc). That's why you have to wait hours for attention. There was talk of adding the co-payment to hospital visits so they were not used in place of the GP. Not sure where this is at now.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    3:07pm
    Correct KSS. Those who are clearly not in need of emergency help need to be turned away as this is being abused just like free health care at the doctor.
    Tom Tank
    17th Jun 2014
    3:50pm
    These comments are spot on and the misuse of Emergency Depts. is nothing new. A charge should be made, equivalent to a visit to a GP should be made for those abusing the system.
    Unfortunately this would not be easy to administer and the Doctors and Nurses have more than enough on their hands without imposing that load on them. Something needs to be done however as I have friends, who are millionaires, who always go to A & E with minor complaints. Maybe that helps explain one of the ways they accumulated their money.
    MySay
    17th Jun 2014
    1:01pm
    Leave the pensioners alone!!! They are having a tough enough time of it, financially. Why does the Government always take from people and projects already struggling and give to the ones who already have enough .... like themselves, perhaps!
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    3:10pm
    Is it understood that some countries have NO WELFARE SYSTEM? And is it not understood that a couple get over $30 000 pa (pension + other benefits)?
    So what is this about starving pensioners? Maybe if rent is being paid but not if family home is owned.
    Me thinks that there is a bit of lily gilding going on here.
    Tom Tank
    17th Jun 2014
    3:58pm
    Sorry to dispute your figure Mick but my wife and I are pensioners and we don't get anything near $30,000 pa in pension and other benefits from the government. Fortunately we own our own home so are not doing too badly and are certainly not starving.
    Pensions were guaranteed by Robt Menzies to be paid from tax receipts when he took the accumulated funds from the scheme started by a Labour Government into consolidated revenue back in the late fifties (I think). Sure times change but that action imposed an obligation on every government that followed.
    We also had Tony's word that health, pensions, education etc would not be decreased if he was elected. I guess what is happening now is that he is being held accountable.
    Pass the Ductape
    17th Jun 2014
    1:15pm
    Ridiculous to even consider that $5 of the proposed fee might go towards medical research. What for? To further life expectancy - thereby adding to the numbers of people who will require a pension in the future? What happens then - do we work until we're eighty or ninety?

    Or perhaps the research intended to be done is - how can we get rid of old people without them knowing - painlessly and hopefully without too many complaints?
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    3:11pm
    I vote to work to 100. That way the Queen can congratulate the business which kept me on rather than me turning 100.
    Wendy HK
    17th Jun 2014
    1:22pm
    I think just not charging people on pensions is the way to go - otherwise the compensation will cost a lot to administer.
    Anonymous
    17th Jun 2014
    1:48pm
    Thats the whole idea. Not charging pensioners is far to easy and simple. You have to be compensated so we have more beauracratic jobs for the boys. What a pack of dickheads. How do the pensioners get compensated?? Does father Xmas give them an icecream at the end of the year. No wonder we owe billions with such a bunch of cowboys trying to run the country.
    particolor
    17th Jun 2014
    8:49pm
    Hopalong Hockey will mosey on by to answer You shortly Dogs Body
    Mez
    17th Jun 2014
    1:23pm
    Of course! They should never have been included in the first place! Either the govt. advisors are ignorant or plain callous when they penalise the poor and vulnerable when the rich are just getting richer! It really is below the belt!
    Supernan
    17th Jun 2014
    1:25pm
    Very easy for those without chronic diseases to say they are happy to pay $7 each visit. In last 4 months we've had 1) Mastoid infection needing ultra sound, cat scan & MRI, 3 GP & 1 Specialist visit. 2) A bad skin infection needed skin scrape, skin biopsy & 2 GP visits. 3) My normal Thyroid test & a follow up when was needed, with Specialist visit. 4) My Rheumatoid blood test & Specialist. 5) My husbands lung Specialist.
    Out of pocket expenses after Medicare was approx $250 plus parking at Hospital $28. Our Chemist bill is $100 per month even with a Health Card. So our health care cost us $678 for 4 months.
    Add $7 on each GP visit, & added to each Specialist visit, Blood tests, scans, etc would add another $150 to that.
    We've paid Taxes since being teenagers & are now in our 70's. Our Taxes went towards setting it Medicare up. What an unfeeling lot some of you are. Just pray you don't get several chronic illnesses in your 70's.
    KSS
    17th Jun 2014
    2:39pm
    This looks like 16 visits and services. The proposal is that after the first 10 in a year the rest would not be charged. So if this set of services/visits were the first for the year you would pay an extra $70, after that nothing would change. If you then add the proposed 'compensation' of $70, you end up equal to your position now. Of course all this is just a proposal - both the co=payment and the compensation. We have to wait to see what the outcome will actually be.
    KSS
    17th Jun 2014
    2:40pm
    That is per person of course not per couple/family.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    3:13pm
    It looks like KSS has a proper understanding Supernan and that you are more having a whinge than a genuine complaint. My understanding is that people with chronic conditions are covered after a few paid visits. Is this wrong?
    Dancer
    17th Jun 2014
    3:04pm
    I am a pensioner and past carer. As a carer, I certainly did not have the time nor the energy nor the inclination to go to the doctor for a "social" visit! As an aged pensioner, I find there are many more interesting and exciting ways to socialise than visiting the doctor! I don't know of any pensioners who visit their GP unnecessarily though I'm sure there are a few. This co-payment will add to the erosion of the pension for older people and carers, in addition to the future erosion of annual increases to the pension by way of the increases being in line with CPI rather than average weekly earnings. You can be sure that the cost of living won't slow down, in fact we hear on a regular basis that water, electricity, petrol etc. continue to rise as well above the CPI - so how can the Government possibly justify limiting pension increases in this way. If the budget needs "fixing" then let those who can better afford to pull their belts in, take a larger slice of the burden - after all they get a larger slice of income!
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    3:19pm
    You are right about the CPI rising much faster than pensions or wages. That is government and private business greed at work.
    You are wrong though about over servicing. Can you honestly tell me that your GP has never said "come back next week and we'll see how you are going" rather than come back if you are not improving. It seems to be a familiar phrase they put into the manual from what I can see.
    Where you have the last bit confused is that average Australians are the "lifters" in this budget whilst big business and the rich are the parasites who are actually getting money shoveled into their bank accounts by this overtly deceitful government, owned lock stock and barrel by the rich and their big business affiliates. It is what it is.
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    3:37pm
    I'm of little interest to my GP as I hardly visit him. If he didn't have my name on my file in front of him, he would not know who I am. I have Surname and two Christian Names. My mother unfortunately for me called me by my MIDDLE NAME but my official records indicate me in 1,2,3 order. So, even though I go to reception and they call me by my first name and have even written on the outside of the file that I use my 2nd name, it is to no avail. The worst of it is my doctor has another patient with exactly the same three names as me and one day he calls out our names and we both get up and walk towards him. If they could only remember I use my middle name, we wouldn't have this problem. I guess because I only go there once a year, its just too hard for them to remember.
    MITZY
    17th Jun 2014
    3:40pm
    Dancer: Please note it was Average MALE earnings and as we all know, MALES earn more on average than females. Yesterday's paper indicated that MALE AVERAGE EARNINGS were increasing fast at present and rises were faster in the higher income area of MALES. I guess the government knew this well ahead of changing the way our pensions are assessed by moving the goal posts to CPI.
    Kathleen
    17th Jun 2014
    3:08pm
    The important point to make here is that by starting to attack Medicare the beginning of a two tier system is underway. Such a step would send us down the same path as America. It is vital that Medicare be left alone. Too many avenues for getting funds has been ignored because it involves big business, big banks, and others that use loop holes to avoid paying tax. Forget the odd old lady who goes to the doctor for company it is up to her doctor to work with this and to get help for her. Do not be fooled by the lies of Abbott and Hockey and Co. The real issues are that this government is attacking all the wrong things and people. Australia is a country that wants to protect the vulnerable not create an underclass.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    3:24pm
    This started with the Howard government. It was called Work Choices. This was a system to turn Australian workers into slaves as exists in the US where workers are financially raped by employers who not only pay as low as $9 an hour (they just got a $2 pay rise recently) but also expect employees to be on called whenever they need them and with no add-ons like we have.
    The health care system is Australia is still working well but don't kid yourself that this big business owned government would destroy it in a moment if it had the right opportunity.
    The devil isn't a man in a dark suit carrying a trident. The personification is a lot more subtle.
    Reeper
    17th Jun 2014
    3:35pm
    If $7 is such a burden why has no one done a proper survey to prove it? I stood behind to older ladies at the Lotto shop a couple of days ago as they discussed t the co-payment, yet both put on more than $20 worth of lotto plus some scratchies. They continued to complain about being on limited pensions as they then added half a dozen magazines to their purchases.... I know they may not (or maybe) typical, but when lotto and magazines takes precedence over health??? As someone as pointed out, most insurance payouts have an excess to reduce frivolous claims, maybe this co-payment will do the same thing and reduce long waiting times for GP...???
    Anonymous
    17th Jun 2014
    4:50pm
    Reeper, I see it all the time where I live...a retirement town. There is always money for lotto, scratchies etc and the casino bus every week is full...many go every Friday and woe betide any newcomer who dares to sit in their seat (I did and was told that it was "their" seat lol). I have not bothered to raise this myself but as you have I felt I would respond. I know of people who go and get a food hamper every week as they have no money left for food because of their "lifestyle". Drinking and smoking are not something a lot want to do without apparently. Of course I am not saying all people are like this at all but there are a great many who appear to be doing quite well living this way.
    Kato
    17th Jun 2014
    4:31pm
    There should be no co-payment of $7 whatsoever to pensioners. with a chronic illness and or disability and who are under a regular care plan.
    Gee Whiz
    17th Jun 2014
    4:47pm
    Joe Hockey says the age of entitlement is over. Over for whom? The pensioner, the worker on minimum wage, the jobless, the carers etc, that's who.

    It certainly isn't over for the politicians, the fat cats, or bank and corporate CEO's.

    Hockey is blatantly discriminating against the middle and lower classes, while pandering to the elite and the powerful.

    He says, lets give $75000 of taxpayers money to women to have a baby if they earn more $150000. This is so wrong so many different ways its hard to conceive anyone with an ounce of common sense would even suggest it.

    But Abbott and Hockey did. What does that tell you about the morons running the country?

    Bring on a double dissolution. That'll wipe smile off their faces.
    MICK
    17th Jun 2014
    5:08pm
    Great observation. The die hard libs on this site need to confront reality. As you said the "age of entitlement" is not over for CEOs, their Boards and politicians, all of whom take considerably more than the CPI, ongoing.
    If you think that this government is working for the nation then have a close look at the state of play in the past 2 days. It looks very much like Abbott is using his own MPs to poo the Paid Parental Leave Scheme and the Deficit Reduction Tax on high income earners. Big business got a 1.5% tax cut but it does not want either of the above. So now the game looks very much like the liberal MPs are going to undermine both policies and then Abbott will abandon them stating that nobody wants them.
    If you thought that you had been betrayed by Abbott, inc then keep watching. Add to that Hockey stating at the end of his budget speech that "we're not finished yet". Come on in spinner (ie. average Australians).
    Oars
    17th Jun 2014
    5:31pm
    Frank. You have a better insight into the basic economics of the medical fee payment. I am not keen on paying a few researchers millions on their chance of hitting gold. Even if they do- who are they ?? Does the income gained from this Intellectual Property ( patents) stay here in Oz or are we paying for some nifty little backroom science technicians to duck off overseas with their taxpayer paid knowledge, then leave nothing worthwhile for Oz to gain any income.
    Oars
    17th Jun 2014
    5:39pm
    There are many other worthwhile causes that would stack up as an advantage for Oz, yet this one has been singled out. I know the emotional call that the Cancer research mob will lever us with, but they have been flogging this scare for 30 years- and rarely bring anything to the table. Who and when was it decided to add more dollars to their research at this time of an "empty barrel" ?
    Wstaton
    18th Jun 2014
    7:56pm
    A couple of things. First the Abbot government say they are not in the business of doing business. So what is this co payment? To support research that surely businesses (parmers) will benefit from and probably no return to the government.

    Then again CSIRO research gets limited, science research gets dumped, car manufacturers get dumped etc. Does this government think we are stupid.
    annagalvin
    17th Jun 2014
    5:35pm
    I dont understand why this government is saying there is a co-payment fee of $7 of which $5 is going to Medical Research. We have Baker IDI, The Alfred, Fred Hollows and the like doing research and a great many people give to these generously so is the Government saying this is extra.
    Oars
    17th Jun 2014
    5:48pm
    Annagalvin- you have a good point. At this stage of our reduced economy the last thing should be public money spent on doubtfull research. The private sector have traditionally made such contributions as they have the spare cash, and it makes them feel good- (and maybe a place at the table with some influential folk). History shows that private investment has more understanding and cash than any Public Authority. Let the wealthy put their hand in their pocket IF THEY FEEL SO INCLINED. Be assured there are many private investors willing to invest in worthwhile ventures. It should be the Government's job is to open the investment doors- including review the laws on Investment Advertising.
    Wstaton
    18th Jun 2014
    8:08pm
    Yes Oars, There are good private investors and bad private investors. Most of the good ones give generously to research and are fair to the consumers. The bad ones do not except for appearances sake and of course get tax reductions.

    It is interesting to note that a great majority of the bad investors are the ones who cash in to the sell-off of our (the taxpayers) assets. Not only end up providing less but at considerably higher cost to us the consumer.
    patrick
    17th Jun 2014
    5:43pm
    I have to visit the go for scripts for medication , would I
    Have to pay the $7?. Lots of others maybe in same
    Situation, how will they handle this?
    particolor
    17th Jun 2014
    9:58pm
    I got caught in the Revolving Door ? Went around 3 times and had to pay 21 Dollars !!
    Nightshade
    17th Jun 2014
    6:18pm
    TERRY BARNES WILL BE OLD & GREY ONE DAY - TOO
    One never know their luck in life -

    QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENT is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described as independently - instead, a quantum state may be given for a system as a whole.

    So when I say what goes around comes around - there is a precedent in quantum physics for it - which means that it will happen 100%
    Nightshade
    17th Jun 2014
    6:19pm
    So I can say with total confidence - to Terry Barnes - in time you'll get your sonny boy.
    Nightshade
    17th Jun 2014
    6:22pm
    Herbie Hancock / Joss Stone / Jonny Lang - When Love Comes To Town -
    have a listen on youtube - great stuff.
    Nightshade
    17th Jun 2014
    7:05pm
    I just remembered ;

    CENTRELINK MEDICAL CERTIFICATES -
    Are provided to the MEDICAL PRACTITIONER
    By THE GOVERNMENT OF AUSTRALIA

    So as to enable the MEDICAL PRACTITIONER to inform & indeed keep informed ACCURATELY & CORRECTLY - THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT via CENTRELINK of the condition of a / any / all CENTRELINK CLIENTS.

    YES THIS IS 100% TRUE :-

    Therefore if CENTRELINK asks a client to provide them with a CENTRELINK MEDICAL CERTIFICATE form the / their GENERAL PRACTITIONER

    WE ASSUME THAT THE TREATING MEDICAL PRACTITIONER IS OBLIGATED TO PROVIDE THIS CERTIFICATE UPON REQUEST FOR CENTRELINK.

    NOT ONLY DID MY GENERAL PRACTITIONER REFUSE ME A CENTRELINK CERTIFICATE BUT HE LOOKED MR STRAIGHT IN THE EYES & TOLD ME THAT I DO NOT HAVE TYPE2 DIABETES [after all ] - NOR DO I SUFFER FORM HEART FAILURE [ after all ] THOUGH I HAD BEEN DIAGNOSED BY A CARDIOLOGIST & MEDICATED ACCORDINGLY.

    = criminal negligence + malpractice on the part of the said G.P.

    SO IS THE MEDICAL PROFESSION ALLOWED TO REFUSE TO PROVIDE A CENTRELINK MEDICAL CERTIFICATE WHEN CENTRELINK ASKS OR NOT ?
    Nightshade
    17th Jun 2014
    7:12pm
    Please know that I booked a DOUBLE APPOINTMENT [some $100 Bulk Billed ]
    & the G.P. took the money - [ he did not refuse the payment ] - plus another $15.00 cash on top.
    KSS
    17th Jun 2014
    7:59pm
    Nightshade, please stop shouting. And yes GPs can refuse to sign any medical certificate. If fact they can be prosecuted for signing certificates that are not warranted.I do not see a conflict in Centrelink ( or an employer or anyone else) requiring a medical certificate and a GP refusing to give one if they do not think the patient meets the criteria.
    KSS
    17th Jun 2014
    8:01pm
    And if you think you have a case for criminal negligence, report your GP to AHPRA for investigation. Or do you think they are all in cahoots too?
    littlejen
    17th Jun 2014
    7:50pm
    I hope this co payment fee is stopped .The state pensioner concessions for rates , travel etc is being discussed in WA & other states as being ceased , this has flown totally under the radar & will add a huge burden to already hit pensioners , most of us on fixed incomes . I hope this is further discussed .
    Kathleen
    17th Jun 2014
    8:49pm
    For goodness sake the people who are using examples of pensioners living the high life of regular doctors visits or buying magazines or getting on the pokies bus, they do not represent the masses who are doing it tough. Not to mention you cannot judge because you do not know the whole story. Pick on the big banks, the big companies, the tax avoiders, the politicians who get huge amounts even in retirement! Don't pick on your own kind. These other groups deal in millions and billions, the pensioner deals in hundreds at the most. Australia is a compassionate country whether it be the pensioner, the young unemployed, the single mother avoiding a violent spouse, etc. when we stop caring and looking after each other we are doomed! I have worked out a very strict budget but in that is private health cover carefully selected. Good food is there too! Presents for my family as well! What is not is outings and much petrol or holidays apart from visiting our children and grandchildren. We do not drink or smoke but I do not judge people who fit that into their budget because I know they are going without something to have that. It is important that we stand firm against this budget because it is unAustralian!!
    Kato
    17th Jun 2014
    9:00pm
    well said.
    Mitch
    17th Jun 2014
    9:43pm
    I agree totally, if the government could balance their income as well as majority of the pensioners etc then they would be doing okay, obviously they have too much money and do not know how to handle it properly.
    Oars
    18th Jun 2014
    11:00am
    Then if we "stand firm against the budget" as you say Grandma Kate, where is the money that pays for the handouts that you envisage. Is it the $100 Billion of foolhardy spending of the previous group of thugs, or the ongoing payments of retired ( and sacked) politicians. If you were Treasurer would YOU know how to balance the books with little money. I admire your claim that you balance your household budget, but that is chicken feed compared with this country that guzzles up welfare as a right, and attracks overseas non-paying folk that we have to pay for. Let's see how much of the $100 Billion you could retrieve from Labor ?
    Mitch
    17th Jun 2014
    9:19pm
    Of course its ridiculous, its not about helping the costs to the medical needs of the Australians, its all about balancing the books. Why isn't the money being used to assist the failing health system. If medicare is putting so much pressure on the purse string, maybe increase the levy for 1.5% to 2%, it doesn't seem like much but it will add up. Also if pensioners and the disabled are such a burden, why is it that Doctors (who do have the money to pay) get bulked billed, as well as their families and elite sports people who also get bulk billed, (why when they get such huge endorsement from private companies) and probably are on a social security payment as all of their time is spent training. I'm sorry but why is it that the rich feel that they can continually trample on those that are more unfortunate. I pray that one day they are forced to have to deal with the difficulties in life just like the rest of us. Maybe they should put the refugees and immigrants on the same payments as the rest of the Australians that are on payments (instead of double what Aussies get), that would save half of the expense of the centrelink bill, straight up. Maybe you need a real housewife (who manages on limited income and manages to stay on top) giving advice on how to recoup the debt of the government, instead of some University trained accountant who has never had to deal with real life situations in their life, nothing like real life experiences. Maybe the government could save an incredible amount of money instead of of paying overpriced, over educated, inexperienced twits, we could cut the debt and look after those that need it and still have a surplus. If the government didn't pay overpriced prices on their contracts and stupid waste of committees all the time.
    Not Senile Yet!
    17th Jun 2014
    10:17pm
    What a false and unproven statement it is to say..."some go the their doctor to socialise".......with the internet, mobile phones and clubs....who the hell wants to wait 1/2 hr or longer just to chat to a doctor????.....Such Rubbish!
    Even though it pains me immensely .....I do agree with Mick......the Liberal Party wants to copy the American system because it best suits their Right Wing Political Objectives.....namely Business knows best how to Run a Country!
    Sadly most Liberal Voters agree!
    This Co Payment is a direct attack on Medicare itself...they want it gone....and are quite prepared to chip and whittle it down to zilch!
    To the Blue blooded Liberal it is a form of Communism/Socialism....to pay extra tax(via medicare or any other form,,dole included)......to support the less fortunate.
    They believe that Money should rule the system....if it can't support itself and make a profit....it has no use/place in the scheme of things!
    Yep...I am ok...so who cares about anyone else.....Not really the way Australia sees/or wants our society to be at all.
    We are more about Community and Helping or Giving Assistance to the unfortunate Person (Sick or Unemployed).....We have a history of being the Most generous Nation on the Planet.....especially when it come to Charity & Volunteering.....DO WE WANT TO BECOME ANOTHER VERSION OF USA????
    I do not believe we do!
    The Politicians might see an advantage in it for them......but I do not believe the average Australian wants to become a Yank Society!
    And here I agree with Mick....Our Pollies do not have a original idea of their own....they just keep copying the American Ideas/Policy to please Big Business.
    In America...everything is outsourced by the Government to Private Enterprise...not just the services where it is more practicable.....NO!.....everything is Privatised where possible.
    We need to take a stand against Both of the Party Machines!
    To show we disagree with this gradual Americanisation of OUR Nation!
    Vote whichever Party you want in the Lower House...Fine!
    But do not give either Party your Vote in The Senate!
    Put as many Independants in the Senate as possible...just to annoy them...just to show you can......but more importantly...... to show them you understand what their up to!!!!
    I do find that we humans are too quick to judge the less fortunate sometimes......by that I mean we judge by our own values.....and do not allow others their own values/point of view....be they right or wrong by our standards!
    But we only do this because we are taught to do so by the System or PR of Big Business through advertising....they want us to...they need us to turn on each other.....because in war....even social war....Number One Rule is DIVIDE & CONQUER!
    If we disagree and war against each other......they get a free run at doing what they want...Don't They?
    On this Co Payment $7... I think it should be thrown out completely!
    It is not practicable......most doctors do not want to keep drugs on their premises let alone cash.
    Most least thought out Policy Ever!
    They need to go about it differently!
    As for the Research Fund.....useless unless directed towards an already set up Research Facility or Organisations!
    Governments just blow it or mismanage it like they have our Pension Fund Taxes in the past.

    17th Jun 2014
    11:54pm
    Why not let all health card holders be bulk billed and charge everybody else ...It is wrong that 85 per cent are bulk billed we cannot afford it ..,
    Waytoopoortobeme
    18th Jun 2014
    9:33am
    Tell me I'm dreaming mayB, but wasn't that the way it used to B. I remember taking the kids years ago to the Drs and the only ones bulk billed were the ones with concession health care cards?
    Kathleen
    18th Jun 2014
    12:00am
    No....leave Medicare alone!! Do not even start touching it. One little chip at it will lead to another. Medicare is sacred. Never, never touch it! Forget about anyone paying a copayment! That is the most valuable thing on the budget to leave alone!!!
    gary
    18th Jun 2014
    12:16am
    I bought my house with no help from the government ie first home buyers scheme. Keating made me help the banks make huge profits by jacking up interest rates to 18%. while I was trying to pay off my mortgage. I've never been out of work and have always paid my taxes since I emigrated here in 1973. Now I've retired this government is trying to take money out of my pension and telling me my generation is living too long. My wife and I can't live on our meagre pension now and are having to continuously withdraw from my meagre super fund, which at the rate we're going will last about another 3 years.
    What have we (pensioners) done wrong over the years???????
    I just hope we can get rid of this right wing government before they get rid of me and my wife of 48 years.
    As for the people who think the GP co-payments are fair, they are very well off or are young nutters!!!!!
    Ruthie
    18th Jun 2014
    1:23am
    To KSS

    You just don't get it KSS.

    The $70 so-called compensation goes nowhere near compensating for all the other financial losses this terrible government wants to rip off pensioners and yes, from youth and young unemployed and families doing it tough. How can ripping away something in the order of $500+ in concessions and extra charges for fuel and medicines as well as the proposed co-payment. be compensated with $70? Joe Hockey stated last week that people like teachers, nurses etc work one month each tear to pay for welfare benefits. My question is how many months would these same people work to pay Hockey his inflated salary and benefits and his superannuation.

    Tonight (Tuesday 17 June) we have a high flying business man (not sure of his name, but he appeared on Lateline ABC, proposing that national service be compulsory - not in armed forces, but forcing everyone, including the aged and infirm to engage in unpaid work. His reason? He believes that people will become more engaged in the life of Australia. Just where do these get rich people get these outrageous ideas? Sounds like a Hitler youth program. Apparently his public address was met with the derision it deserved.
    Adrianus
    18th Jun 2014
    7:50am
    Ruthie. Please correct me if I'm wrong. My understanding is you will get the $70 so-called compensation regardless. Also if you are a deserving case you will not be asked for the $7 co-payment by your GP. What sort of Australia would we live in if welfare recipients get their way and destroy the people/business houses that provide the jobs and welfare?
    Oars
    18th Jun 2014
    11:04am
    Frank. You are partly correct. Serious economics requires jobs to be created that provide incomes for the workers and taxes to pay for welfare. I hope these points are fully understood before any political overtones are introduced to this debate.
    MITZY
    18th Jun 2014
    11:25am
    Frank: I read that if the doctor does not charge the $7.00 co-payment which he is not obliged to charge, he will not receive his rebate for bulk billing his patient.
    Can you imagine if this comes to fruition a doctor who bulk bills also foregoing his rebate from the government? I doubt a pensioner/welfare recipient, would ever be able to destroy the people/business houses that provide the jobs and welfare?
    Adrianus
    18th Jun 2014
    12:16pm
    "I read that if the doctor does not charge the $7.00 co-payment which he is not obliged to charge, he will not receive his rebate for bulk billing his patient."

    Where did you red this MITZY?
    MITZY
    18th Jun 2014
    3:43pm
    Frank: I only buy the SMH so I read it there and they have various freelance journalists contributing items, so I'm unsure at the moment who wrote it.
    Will have a look and see if I can find it again.
    Abby
    18th Jun 2014
    7:45pm
    From what I read it is the $2 rebate from the $7 co-payment that the doctor will not receive.
    Adrianus
    19th Jun 2014
    12:41pm
    Yes Abby, I thought someone was just trying to scare us oldies. Thank you!
    Mar
    18th Jun 2014
    8:32pm
    The fee should NOT be charged. It will result in many people not attending their GP when they should. I know of someone who never went to the doctor and upon making a visit after 3 years found out he had stage 4 cancer. He was gone in a few months. The medicos keep saying men must look after their health more and get check ups regularly. This will not happen. Single parent families will suffer most. Our health care will go backwards.
    bookwyrm
    18th Jun 2014
    9:21pm
    It shouldn‘t go ahead for anyone. It‘s just an excuse to begin dismantling Medicare. Abbot‘s Tea Party libertarianism beliefs does not believe in a free universal health system for all or free education, a decent welfare system etc.
    guyra2
    18th Jun 2014
    11:18pm
    Some just aren't aware that quite a few medications...which are extremely important....for reasons best known by the Doctor or pharmacist...are by a monthly prescription...no repeats...so a monthly trip to the Doctor cant be avoided...and with the extra $7 just adds to the already too high payment for medications
    carmencita
    19th Jun 2014
    12:23am
    I don't agree with $7 co-payment no matter how it is sugar coated to cover cost for a medical research centre. Researches are on-going regardless. A compensation is not an alternative rather an insult to those affected. That's the price we pay when consultants are hired who are remunerated highly instead of our politicians to do the thinking for which they are elected and paid to do their jobs. Why not eliminate all those consultants, thinktanks and who else are advising the poli8ticians, then we save millions if not billions in fees.
    Adrianus
    20th Jun 2014
    4:49pm
    carmencita you didn't say why you "don't agree with the $7 co-payment." What is it that you don't like about the payment??
    Ecstatic Cyclist
    20th Jun 2014
    7:48pm
    A $7 GP co-payment will increase health costs whilst reducing health outcomes. The US spends more per head on health yet has one of the worst health outcomes amongst the industrialised countries. The co-payment will discourage some from seeking timely medical treatment resulting in far more costly treatment later.

    22nd Jun 2014
    2:46pm
    After 10 payments you do not pay any more..if you are on a Chronic Disease Care Plan with your Dr...I think you pay NOTHING ?
    Kato
    22nd Jun 2014
    3:55pm
    Ask not what the Treasurer can do for you, but what you can do for the Treasurer – as he obviously needs all the help he can get.

    The whole nation suffers when consumers lose heart. Thus Joe Hockey's spectacularly unpopular first budget is proving economically damaging as well. While the Reserve Bank's verdict is out on the implications of the sharp consumer confidence dive, the budget itself features a sharper fiscal contraction than the central bank expected
    So, for the sake of the nation, here are a few steps that could restore a little confidence by removing some of the budget's more contentious aspects and improving the communication.



    A few of the fixes are relatively easy, but the bigger issues will require an injection of political courage to deal honestly with the electorate. First the easy stuff:

    Hose down the Medicare brawl

    You want to introduce a co-payment for those currently bulk-billing? Here's a reasonable olive branch: exempt all pensioners and children under 18. That wipes out the main complaint about the announced policy – the idea that a financially-stretched parent would hesitate about taking a sick child to the doctor.

    Once you have slipped "co-payments" into the system, you can always fiddle it a bit more later on.

    The ruse of claiming this pricing initiative is for a medical research fund - "the budget that cures cancer!" – hasn't scored thanks to the government's broader credibility problem. Better at least reinstate the funding for the commercialisation of our existing quite strong medical research. That might at least improve credibility in the research community.

    Sell fuel excise indexation

    This is a matter of trying to overcome the government's weakness of being unable to effectively communicate with an electorate that has lost trust in politicians making promises that mean nothing – the price paid for chanting "no new taxes".

    The compromise here would be to offer the reverse of the current age pension indexation – excise should rise by the lesser of the CPI or average weekly earnings. This should make it easier to explain to people that indexation won't cost them more in real terms, that the fuel tax should merely remain constant as a proportion of household budgets. Having created the monster of forever telling Australians that they're doing it tough, this would at least allow the line that indexing fuel excise will make it no tougher.

    It would help if the government had credibility about specifically
    It would help if the government had credibility about specifically spending fuel excise on roads – but that's a bit hard when there's actually a cutback in federal money going into transport in 2014-15. So let the deficit slide a little more to allocate funds to Infrastructure Australia's hit list and move beyond the current focus on three mega-projects. It's easier to sell a story if it's also the truth.

    The under-30 dole doozy

    Denying the dole to those under 30 for six months arguably is the harshest single issue in the budget. When you're promising a higher unemployment rate anyway and arming those over 50 with a $10,000 incentive to be employed, there's an ugly element of doctrinaire cruelty in punishing people for not getting jobs that aren't there. Sure, Eric Abetz would like to reinstate an underclass of cheap itinerant rural labour, willing to work for little more than bed'n'board, but even dedicated Liberal supporters are uneasy about this one – perhaps with a view to higher crime rates.

    But it's also the easiest problem to fix: just drop it. It won't get through the Senate anyway so better to confess it was a terrible mistake and ditch it without trying to defend it. Blame an unhealthy IPA element in the party and purge them. Besides, you don't really need the IPA and Murdoch extremists now – remember that you are now in government.

    Pension indexation changes

    Given the demographic tsunami building up a little over the horizon, limiting age pension indexation to the CPI is a sound policy. Current living standards will be maintained and improvements above that become something that the government of the day will have to deal with as finances and politics permit.

    The sales pitch here is complicated because the immediate hook relies on the coalition's fundamentally flawed carbon policy. With Palmer's puppies giving you what you want on that front, do the maths on what Labor's carbon tax pension compensation gift was worth, add the amount that allegedly will be saved by scrapping the carbon price and demonstrate that it actually adds up to years of above-CPI indexation. Promise to revisit indexation when the double-carbon-effect nominally runs out.

    Transform the GST

    Everyone knows what you're up to and what you'd like to do. The current cunning plan of forcing the states to demand a widening or deepening of the GST is politically reasonable, but it's not enough to counter the public's understandable cynicism about your "no, never" promises in the election campaign.

    However sound the argument about the proportion of direct taxation and over-reliance on income tax, however reasonable it is that the disadvantaged can be compensated, it won't go down well with people who can only see the cost.

    So change the GST into the HST – the Health Services Tax. Demonstrate that it is specifically levied to pay the states' health care costs, costs that can't otherwise be met. Australians don't mind paying tax so much if they can see it's being spent on something that is important to them.

    With the $80 billion you're slicing from what the states thought they would be getting for hospitals and education, it shouldn't be difficult to get them onside. And you could try to paint yourself as genuinely concerned about maintaining health standards.

    Education dedication

    You're being given low marks for your dedication to improving education, probably because you're not dedicated. The flip-flopping on Gonski was shameful and Christopher Pyne's hair splitting has been as bad a look as two big finance types sucking fat cigars.

    (And while mentioning it, quit the cigars. Most Australians are intelligent enough to realise smoking is a dumb look. Again, you no longer have to follow the Murdoch/IPA line. And it's bad for you.)

    But improving education is hard. It's the most important investment you make in Australia's future. In the long run, it may be the only thing you can really do to maintain Australia's living standards.

    Leaving it to the states hasn't worked and won't work. The "competitive federalism" ideology is a crock – it dooms the poorer and dumber states to becoming poorer and dumber.

    Thus it's not possible to abandon Gonski unless you have something better to replace it. Your job of being a responsible treasurer includes changing your colleagues' language: it's not a matter of spending on education, but investing in it.

    This investment is required across the board – from childcare/pre-school through to tertiary. This probably is your second-hardest job. You could start by grabbing the $5 billion earmarked for the Tony Abbott's paid parental leave thingy and applying it to childcare/preschool.

    But that leads to your hardest immediate job:

    Man up to Tony

    You have an increasingly unpopular leader, or a decreasingly popular one, if you prefer it that way. Having successfully helped the Labor Party to lose the election, he had the shortest political honeymoon in living memory and now enjoys all the credibility of Tony Abbott. Yet he seems to be happily riding roughshod and unchallenged over the government, from an expensive mistake like the PPL to the rich symbolism of his knights and dames.

    In your own department, you have the shame of being forced by a vindictive leader to flick the Treasury secretary you respect and need and recognise as the best person for the job. You have the backing of party elders Howard and Costello in wanting to keep him – but, so far, you've lacked the ticker to simply say "no" to your leader.

    This should be acutely embarrassing for you. If you're not capable of reining in your prime minister now, there's a strong chance he'll get worse. That's what routinely happens with CEOs who consider themselves bulletproof and aren't given reality checks.

    Coming clean

    All this is only possible if you start by levelling with the Australian people, dropping the Opposition act of blaming everything on Labor and pretending everything will be hunky-dory if we just scrap the carbon price and mineral resources rent tax.

    Having cried "wolf" for four years over the non-existent immediate budget "crisis", it's hard to take the people with you for the difficult job of fixing the longer-term budget challenge.

    You have to play a less partisan role – it's a sign of confident leadership if you can – and explain that the last two terms of the Howard/Costello government and the start of the Rudd government were plain wrong in putting tax cuts and handouts ahead of the nation's needs.

    It should be easier to sell the freezing of tax benefit indexation if people are told the truth: they shouldn't have had it in the first place. Take comfort from the Labor polling that showed voters would have preferred Rudd's "me too" tax cuts to have been spent on health and education.

    Part of levelling with the population has to be honesty about tax revenue and expenditures. That also solves questions of the budget's "fairness".

    If we want to have the NDIS and greater investment in education, we're going to have to pay for it. Some of the unnecessary and very costly expenditures will have to be trimmed and some extra revenue eventually will have to be raised.

    That means superannuation changes. It only makes sense for the Tax Office to subsidise super up to the point of not requiring the pension. Beyond that, it's not the role of government to provide incentives for the wealthy to become wealthier – and there's no need to.

    ASFA's white paper on superannuation is a starting point for dealing with lump sums.

    And while a more rational and reasonable super system should be part of the tax review, you don't need to wait for another election if you're honest with the population. Confess that you were wrong to oppose and overturn the minor super reforms of Labor's last budget – that people on the lowest tax bracket shouldn't be penalised for putting money into super and that the well-off paying 15 per cent tax on super fund earnings of more than $100,000 a year is more than fair.

    Clean out hangers on

    While you're at it, in the spirit of new-found honesty and the longer-term challenge, reinstate Labor's FBT changes as well. The salary packaging industry is just another bunch of undeserving rent seekers leeching the taxpayer – they have no more right to expect government largesse than car makers.

    It would show ticker and integrity to do it sooner rather than later as you know your tax review will recommend – if that review itself has ticker and integrity.

    The salary packagers are just one of the hangers on you would be better off without. Again, it's a matter of realising you're in government now. They need you, you don't need them. It was one thing to jump into bed with any and everyone who was opposed to Labor, but you can rediscover principle now that you're not dependent on them.

    Oh, they'll whinge and moan out of self-interest, but the rent seekers, tax dodgers and favour extractors are the nation's real leaners.

    Lighten up

    Crucially, facing up to the challenge doesn't require talking down the economy. The gloom-and-doom thing you did every day for four years seems to have become a habit.

    Most of the economic news since February has been pretty good, a chance for you to claim credit for restoring confidence, but you stuck with the glass-half-empty face and your exaggerated mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) figures. Your budget's forecast for 2013-14 GDP looked pretty silly within weeks thanks to the national accounts showing 3.5 per cent growth in the year to March.

    Joe, it's time to accentuate the positive because there's a lot of it. Many things are going well for Australia but you're still scaring people with dire warnings of economic disaster unless the lower classes keep their place.

    It might appal you, but you actually need to make Labor voters happy with their lot. There are more of them than coalition voters now, so depressing the majority is a silly thing.

    Labor voters think you and Tony Abbott are worse than the GFC. That's not helpful.

    It's in your own political interest to cheer up, to win back the hearts and minds, or at least the votes, of those who only voted for you to get rid of the Gillard/Rudd circus. The last thing you want is to disappoint them so much that they'll vote for Palmer next time.

    Besides, optimists live longer, are more successful and are generally nicer people. Give it a go. You just might realise you wouldn't want to be anywhere else on earth and that politics doesn't have to be the duplicitous, nasty and decidedly grubby game all sides have made it.

    We're collectively sick of that, Joe, sick of mates of one colour or the other concentrating on helping those of the same colour, of putting the interests of their political party ahead of the nation. If we were offered some integrity by a leader, there's a good chance we'd follow.
    Gee Whiz
    22nd Jun 2014
    4:23pm
    The garbage out of Canberra just keeps getting worse.

    While Abbott and Hockey are trying to fleece pensioners, minimum wage recipients, and other struggle street citizens it has now been revealed we pay illegal immigrants up to $10000.00, plus a jetliner air fare to send them back to where they came from.

    What is wrong with these people? Have they been injected with some sort of stupid serum? Or are they so far removed from reality, and awash with money they don't give a s**t about how they waste it?

    Just imaging any other country in the world paying an Australian citizen $10000.00 to help them get back to their own country?

    In the few short months the Abbott government has been in power they have proven themselves to be liars, untrustworthy, and against the Australian way of life.

    This latest scandal is the final straw. Never again will they get a vote from me.
    Not Senile Yet!
    22nd Jun 2014
    10:44pm
    No No NO!!!! Drop the whole idea....It is a bad idea.....an ill thought out idea.....that would make trouble for the GP as well! (ie Cash now on premises)
    Was and is an attack on Medicare......once they get a fee...it will never just stop there....they will keep putting it up and up until......geee! Guess what?.....No Medicare!
    Medicare is our safety net for those who simply cannot pay for whatever reason at that time.
    It is so medical help is available at the time it is needed, so it helps the less fortunate to recover and get well....then get back on their feet...health wise!
    These turkeys want to get rid of medicare completely as a cost saving on their budgets.....nothing else!
    They want us to become like America...No Private Health Insurance.....no assistance from the Govt......
    WE ARE NOT AMERICA!
    We are Australia....and we don't abandon those less fortunate than we are......we would rather keep our Medicare for them!
    What..... once they get rid of Medicare......will they reward themselves with pay rises out of the Money they just saved?
    You bet they will! That's the American Ideal!
    But it is Un-Australian.....god help us it we succumb to that way of thinking......we may as well then become a State of the good ol USA!
    No Thank You!
    Not Senile Yet!
    22nd Jun 2014
    11:02pm
    But they are broke Gee Whiz...that is why they are Robbing the Pensioners and the Unemployed and limiting the Disability Pension.
    Not to mention putting up the Retirement Age because they simply can't afford to pay all the Baby Boomers about to Retire!
    They are broke!...That was what the budget was about eh?
    But hang on ....didn't they just sign up for Billions more Debt for New Defence Planes from their Mates in the USA????
    That's why Abbott went their....to sign the contracts....and kiss ass!
    It cost's less to allow them entry and access to the Dole than it costs to lock them up offshore!
    Why? Because everyone knows you cannot survive on the Dole anymore in Australia.....inflation has taken care of that!
    So the boat people would quickly find work or create their own!
    I am sure once they mastered English they would soon work out how to own their own business and pay others to dodge paying tax.
    The Legal Immigrants have!
    Yeah! They are a Special Breed......our Politicians.....they are Bred......with a secret ingredient ........but it does involve having your logic and common sense removed......or was that simply not put in????
    Who can tell?
    Never vote for the Parties....they are the one breeding these New Idiots!
    alinejordan
    5th Jul 2014
    10:49am
    collect money from big corporation that do all they can to minimise tax. then we don't have to have this ridiculous conversation about slogging the neediest in our society.
    alinejordan
    5th Jul 2014
    10:50am
    the latest comments should appear at the top, not the bottom of hundred other comments!
    alinejordan
    5th Jul 2014
    10:55am
    and after reading a good part of all these comments about people who go to the doctor for the fun of it maybe their issues should be addressed rather than charging legit patients for something that's already been paid for by the medicare levy!
    guyra2
    25th Jul 2014
    6:01pm
    Instead of anyone seeing a doctor for a minor complaint such as a common cold ,,,or abrasion
    Why couldn't a qualified nurse be employed to evaluate patients..... that way the Doctor
    would have more time for those patients that suffer from something more serious
    Eases the workload for the Doctor and places another nurse in a position where she is
    fully appreciated and paid what they are worth...not underpaid as they are in most
    hospitals.
    They issue now before all of us is a Government that simply cant do the job they were
    voted into office to do. If they kept half of their promises... that alone would be
    not only a surprise but a step in the right direction to show they have some knowledge
    of the difficulty it is to exist on the pittance we of the Grey Army are given.
    There are only two solutions One is for them to change. The second one is to elect
    someone reliable that will have us think once again our great country is in the right hands


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