With just five parliamentary sitting days left this year, it seems there is still confusion as to whether the government will keep, change or scrap its plan to charge a $7 GP payment.
During Question Time today Prime Minister Tony Abbott said “The government is committed to keeping our medicare system sustainable.”
Abbott, Treasurer Joe Hockey and Health Minister Peter Dutton have delivered conflicting statements on the fate of the $3.5 billion legislation.
The Australian Medical Association had this to say:
— AMA Media (@ama_media) November 27, 2014
The PM’s office spent yesterday briefing journalists privately conceding defeat on the proposed budget measure, given its unlikely chances in the Senate.
This morning, the headlines killed off the co-payment, then along came treasurer Joe Hockey saying the government still intends to take the GP co-payment plan to the parliament.
“Our policy stands… our policy stands,” Hockey said.
“We will take it when we are able to take it.”
Meanwhile, minister Dutton declined to rule out making changes to the legislation, but said the government was “pragmatic” about the negotiations with Senators.
“The Labor Party will kill Medicare by offering everything to everybody for free,” Dutton said.
“We will do whatever it takes to make Medicare sustainable. If we don’t, with an ageing population, we will find ourselves in 10 or 20 years with a system that will collapse under its own weight.”
This is unlikely to be the only issue Abbott looks to address before the year’s close, as Treasurer Joe Hockey prepares to deliver the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO).
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