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The GP Copayment – A Pig Dressed in Lipstick?

There has been a lot of news today about the proposed GP copayment, which is meant to come into effect next year.  I gotta say, I find this “new” proposal more than a little suspicious given the Coalition government’s earlier $7 copayment proposal, which overtly discriminated against marginalised populations.  

You have to wonder if yesterday’s announcement about the $5 copay was actually the original intent, with the obscene $7 proposal meant to soften the blow?

I have no doubt this was the original intention.  Instead of the government looking at ways to reduce barriers to practice for nurse practitioners, a health workforce which has the capability to provide affordable, safe and efficacious healthcare and who has yet to meet its full potential in Australia, the government looks at ways of introducing further soft taxes on the public.  The intent?  The Coalition affirms the new copayment will reduce visits to the doctor, and therefore decrease GDP spent on healthcare.  

Where is the proof that these measures will actually improve outcomes and decrease healthcare expenditures?  Where has the precedent been set?  Nowhere.  In fact, there is some discussion that this new measure may actually worsen healthcare outcomes, driving up GDP.  

I suppose it’s not all bad: the new proposal increases the standard GP professional attendance requirements to a minimum of 10 minutes.  That’s 6 more minutes of consultation time for patients attending large corporate healthcare giants.  I wonder if that equates to quality?