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AMA in the News

Your AMA has been active on policy and in the media on a range of issues crucial to making our health system better. Below is a snapshot of recent media coverage.

Print/Online

Proposal means few will have to pay fee, Northern Territory News, 15 August 2014

Very few patients will pay the $7 GP fee and the Government will make almost no savings under the AMA proposal being considered seriously by the Government. The AMA would like pensioners, nursing home patients, Indigenous Australians, and the chronically ill to be exempt from the co-payment.

Medicare fee jeopardises Aborigines, The Age, 15 August 2014

Health leaders have warned the Abbott Government’s proposed $7 Medicare fee could widen the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said the proposed fee was in effect a cut to Indigenous health funding.

Fee disaster in regions, Courier Mail, 15 August 2014

Implementing the Federal Government’s $7 GP co-payment proposal would be disastrous for Indigenous health care. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler has been touring the Northern Territory and said GP co-payments were the key issue raised with him.

Split bills key to Budget, Sunday Times, 17 August 2014

Health Minister Peter Dutton is in talks with the AMA to offer greater concessions on the $7 GP co-payment for vulnerable Australians, but has ruled out blanket exemptions for pensioners.

Call to link medicine to overseas prices, Weekend Australian, 16 August 2014

The Government could save $580 million a year by bench-marking the cost of drugs in Australia to international prices, eliminating the need to increase the co-payment on medicines, according to some analysts. The AMA argues the financial costs that arise from patients skipping medicines and other treatments go well beyond the health system.

$20b medical fund at risk if $7 co-payment is rejected, Australian Financial Review, 18 August 2014

A $20 billion government medical research fund meant to find cures for diseases may become the victim of a political compromise over the Government’s $7 doctor and pathology charge. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said the fund should never have been linked to the controversial charge.

Outrage mounts over lack of GP fee details, Northern Territory News, 18 August 2014

Pressure is mounting on the Federal Government to release details of its planned changes to the controversial $7 GP fee as doctor’s groups and consumer demand answers. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said the AMA is arguing for pensioners, nursing home residents, Indigenous Australians and the chronically ill to be exempted from the GP co-payment.

$7 GP fee deal waits on AMA’s proposal, Courier Mail, 20 August 2014

Federal health beancounters met with the doctors’ union in further signs the Government is closer to negotiating a deal on its $7 GP co-payment. It is understood the AMA has urged Mr Dutton to exempt pensioners, the chronically ill, Indigenous patients and nursing home residents from the co-payment.

Doctors want half exempt from fee, Adelaide Advertiser, 21 August 2014

Almost half the population would be exempt from the $7 GP co-payment under an AMA compromise. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler admits the Government will make virtually no savings if it adopts the plan.

GP clinic scheme under fire, The Age, 21 August 2014

Private health insurance customers are being given preferential treatment at certain GP clinics in a trial that poses a threat to universal health care. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler told a Senate hearing the scheme was s step towards the managed care system that exists in the US.

Healthcare AMA plan rejected, Sydney Morning Herald, 22 August 2014

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has rejected a proposal by doctors to exempt pensioners from a $7 GP fee, but has left open the possibility of negotiating whether children’s visits were charged. Health Minister Peter Dutton thanked the AMA for their honesty in publicly and privately supporting a co-payment in principle.  

Shop for a low-cost surgeon, Adelaide Advertiser, 23 August 2014

Patients will soon be able to shop for a surgeon, as a health fund makes public which specialist don’t charge a gap. Terry Barnes is calling on the Government and the AMA to ensure doctor fees are capped at the level of the AMA fee.

We must discourage our bulk-billing culture, The Age, 28 August 2014

A $7 co-payment on all patients, for such a tiny return, does not make sense. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said the rationale behind the general practice co-payment proposal is confused. 

Radio

A/Professor Brian Owler, ABC Riverland SA, 15 August 2014

AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler talked about the proposal put forward by the AMA to the Federal Government to change its GP co-payment plan. A/Professor Owler said that under the AMA plan concession card holders, children younger than 16 years, nursing home residents and patients will mental and chronic illnesses would be exempted from the co-payment.

A/Professor Brian Owler, 666 ABC Canberra, 21 August 2014

AMA President A/Prof Brian Owler talked about the Budget and the $7 GP co-payment. A/Professor Owler said the AMA is concerned about people in aged care, the unemployed, people with a disability, and those living in remote areas.  

A/Professor Brian Owler, 2UE Sydney, 21 August 2014

AMA President A/Prof Brian Owler discussed the $7 GP co-payment released in the Abbott Government Budget. A/Professor Owler said the proposal does not protect vulnerable patients, does not have proper safeguards, and goes against prevention and chronic disease management health policy. 

A/Professor Brian Owler, 2HD Newcastle, 22 August 2014

AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler talked about the AMA’s alternative model for the GP co-payment. A/Professor Owler said a co-payment for those who can afford it is important because if they continue to be bulk billed, quality of care will suffer. 

A/Professor Owler, 2GB Sydney, 26 August 2014

AMA President A/Professor Owler discussed the GP co-payment. A/Professor Owler said the AMA’s alternative GP co-payment model exempts concession card holders and patients under 16 years, and the $6.15 was essentially the bulk billing incentive that already exists.

Television

A/Professor Brian Owler, Channel 9 Perth, 18 August 2014

AMA President Brian Owler talked about patients being slugged with medical costs much higher than are covered by Medicare. A/Professor Owler said the MBS has never kept pace with inflation.

Dr Brian Morton, ABC Sydney, 20 August 2014

AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton talked about private health insurers moving into general practice and their claims that it will help keep their customers healthy and thus cut hospital cuts. Dr Morton said urgent cases should always get priority, regardless of insurance status.

A/Professor Brian Owler, Sky News Sydney, 21 August 2014

AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler talked about the AMA’s alternative plan for the GP co-payment. A/Professor Owler said the AMA co-payment includes no cut to the Medicare rebate, a $6.15 co-payment for standard consultations, and with concession card holders and those aged under 16 exempt.

A/Professor Brian Owler, WIN Canberra, 22 August 2014

AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler discussed the AMA signing off on their alternative GP co-payment plan. A/Professor Owler said the AMA suggested changing the tax from $7 per visit, to $6.15 and providing an exemption for children and pensioners.

 

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