Sick patients in regional Australia forced to cough up more for GP visits
Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, says regional Australia will do more than its fair share to make Government savings if a $5 co-payment for non-concessional GP patients is introduced. Ms McGowan is calling on the Government to reconsider this decision. She will also work with the cross-bench Senators to ensure that people living in rural and regional Australia are not further disadvantaged.
“The Government doesn’t seem to have taken into account the impact this will have on GPs and patients in rural and regional communities,” Ms McGowan said.
“GPs will be forced to either foot the bill or pass this cost on to patients. There is little bulk billing for people in regional Australia and they are already paying out-of-pocket expenses. People will be paying more to go to the doctor and have no option other than potentially clogging up emergency departments.”
Ms McGowan is pleased concessional card holders will be spared the new fee. However, a visit to the doctor in Indi and other rural and regional areas will be more expensive than it already is for most.
The Medicare spend is much lower in regional areas and the freezing of Medicare rebates until 2019 for services will result in increased out-of-pocket expenses.