The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) says the Abbott Government’s duplicitous move to “dump” its hated $7 GP co-payment while turning GPs into tax collectors remains designed to kill Australia’s system of universal healthcare.
ANMF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, said Mr Abbott sneakily waited until after Federal Parliament had risen for the year before making this announcement because its proposed $7 GP tax was never going to be passed by the Senate.
“This side-step by Mr Abbott is nothing else but sly, underhanded and mean. He intends to see patients charged more while he cowers behind the doctors,” Ms Thomas said today.
“Australians already have some of the highest out-of-pocket medical expenses in the world and this will only add to that because doctors will have no choice than to make up the $5 whenever they can. Make no mistake, this is designed to undermine the fundamental principles of universal healthcare for all Australians and kill off Medicare.
“This is not about improving Australia’s health; it’s just another flawed attempt to balance Mr Abbott’s despised Budget, which he and the Treasurer are still struggling to sell to the Australian public after seven months.
“This $5 fee to see a doctor will also open the door for higher out-of-pocket charges in the future, creating a privatised healthcare system like in the US, where you only get care if you can pay for it.
“Whether it’s $7, or $5, so-called optional or not, it’s still a tax for basic GP services, which will erode Australia’s successful system of universal healthcare – it signals the end of Medicare as we all know it. Sadly, the amount makes no difference; in the end it’s a harsh tax which will hurt everyday Australians.”
The ANMF again calls on the ALP, the Greens, PUP and key Independent Senators to help fight the Government’s latest attempt to “destroy Medicare by stealth and not fall for the Government’s latest broken promise”.