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St Vincent's Welcomes Government's GP Copayment Compromise

December 2014

St Vincent's Health Australia has today welcomed the Federal Government's decision to abandon its previous $7 GP copayment Budget proposal. St Vincent's has argued that such a policy would have acted as a disincentive for many in the community to access the primary care they need.

In congratulating the Government's announcement yesterday to scrap the $7 copayment, St Vincent's Health Australia Group CEO Toby Hall noted “We are very appreciative that the Prime Minister and Minister for Health have listened to us and other key health and welfare groups and taken heed of the concerns we expressed.”

“As a community we must do everything in our power to ensure that those experiencing financial hardship, our young people and our elderly have the most unhindered access to the care they need within the community. We welcome the Government's decision to scrap any upfront charge for pensioners, veterans, concession card holders, children under 16 and for attendances at our residential aged care facilities.”

“For those of us who can more easily afford to pay, the Medicare rebate paid to doctors will be reduced by $5 per consultation and potentially passed on to this group who are in a far better position to share this relatively small burden. St Vincent's supports the Government's revised Medicare policy that provides improved protections for the poor and vulnerable, and is fairer and more equitable. We continue to support the Government's intention to use the proposed savings to fund health and medical research,” Mr Hall said.

“We ask that the Government closely monitor the impact of its policy on the accessing of primary health care by those in our community who most need care,” Mr Hall concluded.

Mr Hall called on all cross-bench senators to support the Government's revised Medicare copayment policy.

To interview Toby Hall please contact David Faktor on 02 8382 2866.