The Government Is Considering Charging Australians $5 Per GP Visit And Doctors Say Healthcare Costs Will Rise

Medical and political groups are criticising the Coalition Government for considering a Medicare co-payment scheme that will see Australians pay $5 per visit to the doctor.

The scheme was proposed by the Abbott Government’s National Commission of Audit, according to reports this weekend.

The Commission has been tasked with identifying enough savings to deliver a surplus of 1% of GDP by 2023-24. It is due to report to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann by the end of next month.

Neither Abbott nor Health Minister Peter Dutton would rule out a Medicare co-payment scheme in the media this weekend, drawing fire from the Australian Labor Party, Greens, Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Doctors’ Reform Society.

Greens Senator Richard Di Natale described it as a move “towards a two-tiered American-style health system, where your health is determined by your bank balance”.

Meanwhile, AMA president Steve Hambleton told the AFR today that the scheme could increase Australia’s healthcare costs if it discouraged those with chronic conditions, obesity or alcohol problems, from regular GP visits.

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