22 C
Byron Shire
December 1, 2021

Medicare co-payment still on agenda

Latest News

A disappointed dog

It’s taken a whole week for my dog to read to page 21 in last week’s Echo. She’s been...

Other News

Byron candidates 2021 Q&A part 2

Buckle in, seats upright, and loosen the belt!  It’s time to see what candidates have to say – in full...

Gladys just doesn’t get it? Bullshit.

The rules are lost to the dark art of time, but when I was younger, we used to play a card game called ‘Bullshit’...

Lismore Councillor candidate bios – Group A: Labor

The Echo asked all the Lismore election Councillor candidates to send in a bio. First cab off the rank was current Councillor Darlene Cook and Group A.

Candidates against the train

Bruce Clarke, Mark Swivel and Asren Pugh have officially stated they do not believe it’s worth trying to get...

Ballina Council agrees to consider tighter holiday let policy

The Ballina Shire Council has voted unanimously to investigate options for restricting short-term rental accommodation.

A disappointed dog

It’s taken a whole week for my dog to read to page 21 in last week’s Echo. She’s been...

Health groups say the government remains set on bringing in a Medicare co-payment, despite public and backbench MP concern.

The Medicare co-payment is still on the government's agenda. (file pic).
The Medicare co-payment is still on the government’s agenda. (file pic).

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley met key health consumer and community groups in Canberra on Tuesday to discuss a way forward on changes to Medicare.

Facing a public and internal party backlash, Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared the co-payment – originally proposed in last year’s budget – “off the table” pending Ms Ley’s consultation program.

But he says the system needs more price signals to keep it afloat over the long term.

However, those attending Tuesday’s meeting came out with the impression the co-payment remains on the government’s agenda.

Australian Council of Social Service chief Cassandra Goldie said the government could not explain why the co-payment was needed.

On occasions, the government talked about budget savings and at other times it was about GP over-servicing or changing the behaviour of doctors.

‘On any of those outcomes, this is the wrong policy to achieve it,’ Dr Goldie said.

The better option was to look at broader tax reform.

‘We can’t talk about budget sustainability and only focus on fee-for-service grabs,’ she said.

Consumers Health Forum chairman Tony Lawson said the co-payment was alive and well.

‘Unfortunately, it would appear the minister continues to propose that Medicare needs a price signal,’ he said.

‘But she and the government are failing to recognise that the introduction of a mandatory co-payment would represent a serious blow to what has made Medicare so successful over the past 30 years.’

The payment would particularly hit chronically ill patients who do not qualify for concessions, and cause people to delay treatment, leading to more expensive treatment borne by the taxpayer.

Ms Ley said she appreciated the honesty and enthusiasm of those at the meeting.

‘This government is also committed to maintaining high-quality care and treatment and protecting bulk billing for concession card holders and the vulnerable,’ she said in a statement.

‘However, with over 70 per cent of Medicare-eligible medical services provided to non-concessional patients now being bulk billed, doing nothing is not an option.’

Other groups at the meeting included the Public Health Association, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, Australian Health Care Reform Alliance and National Rural Health Alliance.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Realistic, local agendas!

On Saturday 4 December we need to vote for people who focus on issues that can be controlled by Council. Candidates claiming they can,...

Coal shame for Queensland and Australian

Local Whitsundays resident Paul Jukes took action this morning against the continued development of the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine.

Wilsons River flood peak and flooding not expected for Tweed, Rouse, Brunswick River catchments

The prediction provided by the Bureau of Meteorology expects that locals around the Wilsons River at Lismore will see the river peak this afternoon at 4.20m. However, ‘Flooding is no longer expected in the Tweed, Rouse, Brunswick River catchments.

Vote for community

From 2007 to 2020, I lived in Byron Bay. I worked as a community-based coastal and marine researcher and writer. I wrote about this...