Despite every health expert advising against it, the Abbott Government is pushing ahead with a GP Tax that will put more pressure on Australia’s hospital system, leave families out of pocket and lead to much worse health outcomes.
Shadow Health Minister Catherine King said Budget leaks this morning made a farce of Tony Abbott’s pre-election promise to be a government of ‘no surprises’.
“This is yet another example of the Prime Minister’s twisted budget priorities,” Ms King said.
“Make no mistake – with the GP Tax, the Abbott Government is dismantling universal healthcare as we know it in this country.
“Labor believes that all Australians should get the healthcare they need – not just the healthcare Tony Abbott says they can afford.
“The Prime Minister’s new GP Tax will mean more parents will be out of pocket when they take their sick kids to the doctor, or families just won’t get the care they need.”
The President of the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine, warned a GP Tax would see patients who would otherwise go to their doctor end up in emergency departments that will:
“put increased pressure on hospitals” [Dr Anthony Cross, 29 December 2013]
Likewise the President of the Australian Medical Association warned:
“We want to keep people out of hospital, so putting barriers in front of people to go to the GP is a concern” [Dr Steve Hambleton, 29 December 2013]
Similarly the President of the Doctors Reform Society warned:
“It’s a crazy idea, without doubt it will stop people going to the doctor” [Dr Con Costa, 29 December 2013]
“This is clearly a decision driven by ideology rather than evidence and expert advice. Despite every health expert advising against this, Tony Abbott is determined to break his election promises and introduce a GP Tax,” Ms King said.
This is simply cost shifting by the Abbott Government that will make healthcare much less equitable and much less affordable for every Australian.
By OECD standards Australia already has high out of pocket costs in healthcare. Introducing a GP Tax will worsen this situation and do nothing to improve the efficiency of the system.
It is bad policy driven by the Prime Minister’s ideological mission to destroy Medicare.