Medicare backpedal

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02 Mar 2015

In a dramatic last-minute turnaround, the federal government abandoned plans — for now — to cut the Medicare rebate for short visits to the GP.

The change, due to take effect from 19 January, could’ve resulted in patients paying $20 more for a consultation of ten minutes or less. Reacting to “significant concerns” from the medical profession, federal health minister Sussan Ley announced the policy had been “taken off the table”.

It also appears that other Medicare changes due to kick in on 1 July (such as the much-criticised $5 co-payment for standard consultations) are also in doubt after prime minister Tony Abbott said he won’t now go-ahead with the reforms without the backing of the medical profession — backing that appears to be wanting. “The message from grassroots GPs is clear,” said Australian Medical Association president Brian Owler,” — the government must scrap its potentially destructive Medicare changes.”