People in Western Sydney will be hit hardest by Tony Abbott’s GP Tax by stealth thanks to his four year freeze on Medicare rebates which started on 1 July 2015.
The rebate freeze is just the latest version of the GP Tax which has seen the Government attempt to slug patients with a $7 fee, a $5 fee, a $20 fee and now an $8.43 fee through the back door.
The freeze will rip $1.3 billion out of general practice over the next four years, a move the highly respected Medical Journal of Australia finds could lead to even higher charges than the original GP Tax.
Ten of the top 12 highest bulk billing electorates in Australia are in Western Sydney and so will be hit hardest by this.
“Labor has been consistent in its opposition to the GP Tax from the start. It’s bad health policy to discourage people seeing a GP – the person known to be the most effective and efficient part of the health system,” Chifley MP Ed Husic said.
Chifley holds the highest rate of bulk billing at 99.11% and is closely followed by Greenway at 97.53%.
Federal Member for Greenway, Michelle Rowland added: “Putting a barrier between GPs and patients can only result in patients becoming sicker, with more people ending up in hospital, adding to costs in the health system.
“Forcing vulnerable patients to pay a tax every time they see a doctor is an attempt to make us all pay a third time for a system we’ve contributed to, and built up over 30 years now.”
THURSDAY, 2 JULY 2015