Australian Greens health spokesperson and former GP, Dr Richard Di Natale, said that the government’s objective is still to make patients pay more to see a doctor.
“Rumours of the co-payment’s death are greatly exaggerated,” said Senator Di Natale.
“While the Greens welcome the back down on the $5 rebate cut, freezing rebates is a prescription for a co-payment by stealth.
“From the outset the government’s overriding objective has been to reduce the incomes of doctors so that they will pass on costs to patients. Of the three measures announced in December, freezing rebates for four years was always going to have the biggest impact on GP incomes and out of pocket costs.
“Anyone who claims that co-payments are gone simply doesn’t understand the policy.
“If this proposal goes forward bulk billing rates will drop and patients will pay more over time. To use the Prime Minister’s own words, this version is more of a ‘python squeeze rather than a cobra strike’.”
Media contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600