Confusion continues to run rife amongst the backbenches of the Coalition over the implementation of the Abbott Government’s ill-conceived GP Tax.
This week Member for Hume, Angus Taylor was caught out incorrectly informing his constituents in an email about the budget that, “GP co-payments will not apply to those who cannot afford to pay.”
Assistant Shadow Minister for Health, Stephen Jones says this is incorrect.
“Under the Abbott Government’s plan, every single patient in Australia will be slugged upfront with the GP Tax when they visit their doctor, get a blood test or medical scan”, said Jones.
“Constant fumbling the on the policy shows the Abbott Government is blind to the health needs of rural and regional Australians. It’s just not on their agenda.
“As an MP representing a rural area, Mr Taylor should know the biggest health issue we face in rural and regional Australia is access to GP and specialist services and the Government’s GP Tax will hit regions the hardest.
“In Mr Taylor’s electorate of Hume, bulk-billing rates are over 82 per cent. That means Tony Abbott’s GP Tax could cost local families over $5.6 million in the first year alone.”
The Member for Hume is not the first MP in the Government to reveal they do not know who will be forced to pay their own GP Tax.
The Prime Minister told told Melbourne radio listeners on 21 May that an average patient would only have to pay the $7 GP Tax ten times and then they would be bulk billed.
This is incorrect. Under the Abbott Government’s policy the ten visit threshold only applies to concessioners and children under 16 years.
Treasurer Joe Hockey also got it wrong last month on ABC’s Q&A program, when he stated the chronically ill wouldn’t be hit by the $7 GP fee, telling a viewer who suffers from eight chronic illnesses, “You wouldn’t be hit by the so-called Medicare co-payment. You wouldn’t be affected.”
Incorrect again. Under the Abbott Government’s policy, patients with chronic illness will only be bulk-billed for one doctors visit a year when the GP plans the patients care.
“The Coalition promised before the election they would give full-time
attention to regional health concerns, and make regional health a high priority in general health policy”, said Jones.
“Mr Taylor’s recent display of ignorance on the single most important Budget measure affecting rural and regional patients shows this is nothing more than another broken promise.”