Pensioners will not be exempt from paying the $7 GP co-payment after Tony Abbott rejected the Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) recommendation, however, children may not be charged the fee.
Mr Abbott told reporters in Melbourne yesterday that, as pensioners only paid around $7 for government-subsidised prescription, it was reasonable to contribute a similar amount to see a GP. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a comparable amount to be paid for visits to the GP,” he said.
The AMA released a proposal that would see children under 16 and concession card holders exempt from the fee. The proposal also recommended that fees for pathology and radiography be deferred until the details can be worked through. The AMA also suggested that the fee be reduced to $6.16 for all other patients and that the $5 cut to Medicare rebates be abandoned.
Health Minister Peter Dutton also rejected the AMA proposal, saying it would be a windfall for GPs but would wipe out 97 per cent of the estimated government savings. He also said that he believed most Australians supported the charging of a fee to ensure sustainability of the healthcare system.
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