The co-payment… not gone at all! 198



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There is confusion everywhere tonight as the Government has today come out and claimed that they are not in fact axing the GP co-payment as they said they were last night, but considering other ways to get it through.  “It is our policy” said a confident Joe Hockey as he spoke to the media after question time today.

The Government is keen to place a priority on a “price signal” for medicare services.

“We are not ruling in or out different options that might be available to the Government and we are determined to send a price signal to make Medicare sustainable,” Mr Dutton said.

Government Senate leader Eric Abetz confirmed a “GP co-payment remains our policy”, but added: “I’m not going to speculate as to different methodologies that might be employed.”

The consensus in today’s media seems to be that the Government plans to change tack on the co-payment, rather than to scrap it.  And we want to know what you think of the move.

Last night as word rippled the nation that the Coalition Government were planning to scrap the tax, pensioners, retirees, families and other budget conscious people breathed a sigh of relief.  Today, the question on everyone’s lips is… will they find a back door through which they can introduce the co-payment without taking it through Parliament?

It is not too difficult for the Government to implement their charge simply by cutting the current subsidy being offered to doctors visits via medicare, and that is what the opposition health spokeswoman, Catherine King thinks is likely.   And it is entirely possible without legislation.

One thing is for sure tonight… Mr Abbott has told Parliament that he is determined to make Medicare more sustainable.

How do you feel about this flip flop on the GP co-payment?  Do you think that people need to pay more out of pocket for medical services? And do you think that they should get on with implementing the program rather than pushing it through a legislative approach?

Share your thoughts tonight.

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Persistent little bastards aren’t they. Scratch little.

    3 REPLY
    • I am over 60 and mine isn’t free I pay my 1.5 percent Medicare levy plus $32 gap each time I go . I am no longer working and get a super pension all my scripts are full price. Not entitled to government hand outs as are income is over the threshold by a mere pittance nor are we home owners !!

    • Medicare is not free. It is paid for by a levy on workers and it is FAIR. The LNP have an idealistic dislike to the vulnerable and that is why they keep attacking the vulnerable.

  2. The thieving bastards will sneak it in, just like the fuel excise.

    3 REPLY
    • Marina, the Government is now taking an additional .5c per litre. It doesnt sound like much when you say it fast, but the point is the way that this mob snukc it in. They couldn’t get it throuhg the Senate via a legitimate legislation amendment, so used powers available under tha Ecxise Act to up the ante.

  3. Don’t know what the fuss is about , it’s a mug of coffee surely a visit to a GP is worth more than that ????

    24 REPLY
    • Firstly there are people who would find it difficult , and of course the $7 is for the doctor’s visit. A big worry is the the dearer costs for tests, etc and the upfront payments for X-rays, scans etc. but the big big worry about this is the agenda behind it, to privatise the health system. Speaking to people who have dealt with this overseas is frightening. You have to get permission from a health provider to see your doctor, and they may decide you don’t need an appointment, let alone allow you to choose your doctor. Any thinking person is afraid of this.

    • I couldn’t agree more Denise! I come from New Zealand and they don’t even have Medicare there or anything like it! I’m so grateful for the Australian Medicare!

    • I am on a disability pension and have a number of different docs appointments, tests scans etc per fortnight. So its not just a cup of coffee denise ! Like Ruth I don’t go out for one cup of coffee much less many in each fortnight. Unless of course your shouting.

    • There is no case for any “price signal” for primary health care. This will push people into ERs which are more expensive. This is aside from the immorality of the idea. Anyway, if you’re paying $7 for a coffee you need your head read.

    • The pensioners would dispute the reference to a cup of coffee. Most would not be able to get one after all fees and bills have been paid. Anyway, the Doc only gets $2 and the other five goes to the Govt. to help with their purchases of armaments.

    • Denise, if had 3 kids with bad asthma problems, and you work for a living, it’s only $7 multiplied by ????? Sorry……our Medicare is for our people…

    • Guys..please look at why we are in this shi…t position..its not hard Ranga and the garden gnome..spend spend its easy..NOT..

    • if your on good income ..fine pay it..I would but there are many sick people and people with families and us pensioners and the unemployed who are on low incomes. For those really sick people it will be a choice, buy food or go to the doctor, it is a double whammy if they go to the doctor they have a good chance of being cured, then getting sick again from lack of food because they paid to go. You need to think more of others and not just yourself

    • From what i understand, the $7 isn’t only for the GP visits (includes the bulk-billing practices), but also for all other medical practitioners’ visits: radiologist, pathologists, etc., covered by Medicare. The outpatients dep’t in all public hospitals will be overcrowded!

    • I already pay a $35 co-payment at the doctor and probably more at the pathologist and radiologist.

    • my daughter in law works at a hospital and they will have to charge the $7 also,,,,,BUT,, you guys are missing the point, this money will NOT,,,,NOT,, be going into medicare

    • Ok if you go once a month..some people are at different doctors 2 or 3 times a week and when you’re suffering from a serious health condition, and maybe rely solely on a pension to survive it is a LOT of money! It’s expensive being very ill!

    • Cripplingly so. I virtually worked till I could no more to pay for doctors bills, hospital gaps and medications.

    • When you are genuinely sick it is justified not to have to pay. However, both Drs and the public are causing over consumerism of Medicare not all the public, nor all the Drs. When Medicare came in so did Super clinics ( Geoffrey Eddleston) one of the first. That’s where your hard earned tax dollars went. Pretty soon there was over referral to Pathologists, X-ray, Specialists. Drs seeing people in 5 mins but charging a 15 min consultation. Eventually someone has to pay and over 40 years imagine the debt.

  4. I have said ever since medicare was introduced that the levy was too low. It should be about 5%. Other western countries which have a universal health system charge more than here. Before I retired I was quite happy to support health care for that small percentage of people who were unable to pay for themselves via working.

  5. Starts at 60 what do you mean ??????????

    8 REPLY
    • I just agree with you that’s all… for those who can afford to pay it, I (personally not as a website) think they shouldnt argue with paying for health services they value… for those that can’t I tend to think there should be other options

    • What would be wrong with increasing the Medicare levy instead SAS? Say 1/2%? That way those who earn more pay more and those who earn less, pay less. People dont seem to consider that for a mother with several kids on a pension $7 a visit IS a lot of money. And for a lot of us, of course it is more than $7, I already pay $80 and am rebated less than $40 by Medicare.

    • Noni the Levi recently went up about 1/2% to around 4% of our taxable income.

      The $7 co payment has nothing to do with healthcare, or making Medicare sustainable. Not one cent of that co payment is going into Medicare or healthcare today, or tomorrow.

      Joe Hockey wants us to pay $5 for every single medical service we have. He wants to put $5 of that away for twenty years so he can save up for a 20 billion medical research centre. $2 goes to the medical providers to help cover their admin costs in collecting hockey’s $5.

      We are having the wool pulled over our eyes here.

      Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott won’t be here in twenty years. It’s arrogant of Hovjey to assume he will still be in government that long. Or stupid. What I wonder will become of that $5 they want us to pay.

      Worse, don’t think you will be able to rock up to ER without it costing you a fortune. You will pay $7 for every test they rum.

    • No I That sound feasible but I think the system is overused and that is one of the contributing factors to the problem. Having worked for Drs in past years I have to say it has been misused by professionals no 1 and also because there is no cost people will go to the Dr for the least thing because it’s free. now I know people will argue with that statement but unless you have seen it first hand you won’t know. Also as a patient waiting in a busy Super clinic I have watched Drs take patients into their office and literally 2 minutes later they are out the door and that will happen one after the other. I would never see a Dr who does this. That is huge turn over of people which costs the Govt possibly $50 each 2 mins. To pay to go will cause people to rethink whether they overuse and the Govt needs to monitor the overuse of bulk billing by Super clinics

    • If it went to Medicare I wouldn’t mind so much but it’s going into a fund to provide for a medical research centre. Just once I’d like to be told the truth & not treated like a fool!

  6. They are hopeless last night they said no to it this morning it’s back make up your minds

  7. As I said on the earlier post. What they have said they will do is to reduce the doctors claim amount by $5 per consultation. That way the doctors will add $5 onto their fees which we will have to pay and Hockey will keep the $5 reduction of payment in his own little personal account to build his research facility. A facility that is neither wanted or needed as the research that it will be used for is already being done in other countries. Either way, it will mean an extra cost to the average Australian and will, as usual, hit the poorest the hardest.

    4 REPLY
    • Ruth do you really think that money spent on medical research is a waste ? How do you know that the research done in Australia has already been done overseas ? Our scientist have done great work !

    • The facility he is wanting to build will not be operational for at least 12 to 15 years. They have cut costs to education and to CSIRO. Therefore less chemistry and science students. Cutting costs to CSIRO show how interested they really are in research.

    • He takes away from every scientific endeavour and then talks about setting up a research fund. Get real people who believe in this PM’s Fairy Tales.

    • None of the politicians who are in today will be around when this reserach centre is supposed to be in operation? What is to stop the money just being absorbed into another slush fund?

  8. What happened to honest ministers ? Do they all now go to a special school to teach them how to lie at election time with sincerity written all over their faces

  9. wait and see what happens before jumping to conclusions. Then make sure that we all read the whole matter and not just the papers headline

    1 REPLY
    • It is not the paper’s headlines. Abbott said it was gone followed by Hockey saying it isn’t. It is these fools saying it.

  10. Yes they could and why not? People expect good medical services dont they?

    1 REPLY
    • And deserve it whether they have the money or not. The test of a country is how they look after their poor. This Government fails that test with flying colours.

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