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AMA’s co-payment proposal: the reaction

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott:

The system is becoming unsustainable. It is vital that we try to ensure that there are sensible price signals in the system. And if it’s right and proper to have a modest co-payment for the PBS, why not have a modest co-payment for Medicare?

Treasurer Joe Hockey:

I am glad that they [the AMA] do support the concept of the co-payment. I think that is hugely important. If we want to have a sustainable Medicare system we are asking Australians to make a contribution along the way because, ultimately, nothing can be for free.

Health Minister Peter Dutton:

The current proposal put forward by the AMA with regards to the $7 co-pay will result in a windfall for doctors while wiping out 97 per cent of the Government’s estimated savings.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten:

Labor will not accept Tony Abbott’s GP tax in any form.

Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer:

Who cares [about the AMA proposal]? We won’t accept any co-pay, doesn’t matter what they say.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners:

The AMA’s alternate model is on the right track, however [the RACGP] is still concerned about the risks posed to vulnerable populations.

Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan:

AMA’s proposal to exempt people treated under mental illness Medicare items from GP co‑payments “is an important first step in encouraging people concerned about their mental health to see a GP, but protections must go further”.

Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association:

The co-payment policy proposal released by the AMA goes some way to addressing the inequities of the Government’s policy, but it still falls a long way short.

Consumers Health Forum CEO Adam Stankevicius:

A co-payment would erect a barrier to primary health care for many thousands of families and individuals who would not qualify for concessions. The Federal Government, and now the AMA, are proposing a new impost on health consumers before investigating other ways to make health care in Australia more cost effective.