AMA Victoria applauds co-payment ditch

Tuesday 3 March, 2015 
The Australian Medical Association (Victoria) applauds Health Minister Sussan Ley’s announcement that will see the $5 co-payment abandoned.
“The AMA never supported this policy,” AMA Victoria President Dr Tony Bartone said today. “We did not support the co-payment in its original $7 form, when it applied to all patients regardless of their socio-economic circumstances.
“Nor did we support the amended $5 co-payment, as this simply meant a rebate cut for all the patients who already pay to see a GP. Had this co-payment stayed in place, patients would have receive a smaller rebate each time they saw their GP.
“We praise Health Minister Ley for showing leadership and responding to the medical sector’s concerns. Since becoming Health Minister on 21 December last year, she has reversed two of her Government’s poor health policies and actively engaged and consulted with the AMA and other medical groups. This attitude has been most welcome.
“Today’s announcement, however, did not address the 4 year rebate freeze. AMA Victoria remains strongly opposed to this measure. Freezing rebates at 2014 levels means that you are ignoring the economic principles associated with inflation. Over the next four years a clinic’s rent will increase, the cost of medical equipment will increase, staff wages will increase, the cost of medical training will increase - so must the MBS rebate.
“We look forward to ongoing discussions with the Minister,” Dr Bartone said.
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