Evidence given by the Australian Medical Association in Canberra today says that the proposed $7 GP Tax will affect Tasmanians more than people in other states.
President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Associate Professor Brian Owler, gave evidence to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee in Canberra this morning, in response to questioning by Senator Catryna Bilyk, that highlighted the disproportionate effect of the proposed $7 GP Tax.
“We know that Tasmania has a higher burden of chronic disease, has higher smoking rates, and we need to do more to encourage preventative health care and chronic disease management. And that’s why I think the co-payment will affect Tasmanians more than it affects people in other jurisdictions,” Associate Professor Owler said.
Senator Bilyk said the evidence given today by the AMA highlighted how Tasmanians will be adversely affected by the proposed GP Tax.
“The evidence by Associate Professor Owler highlights that this Government is recklessly acting in a way that will produce worse health outcomes for the Tasmanian people,” Senator Bilyk said.
“The health of Tasmanians with chronic disease will be severely affected if they cannot afford to pay for multiple trips to the doctor”.
“It is much better to spend money on preventative health care and chronic disease management than having to treat conditions when they become severe,” Senator Bilyk said.
Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King MP said the Inquiry also heard how the GP Tax would threaten the viability of surgeries and compromise the quality of health care, “Waiting list in hospitals will increase as the GP Tax drives patients into already overstretched emergency departments”, Ms King said.
“The changes to the budget from 2017 are going to mean a real problem in terms of continue access to public hospitals for Tasmanians and they’ll have no hope of not only developing their health system in the future but addressing some of the inequities that currently exist in the Tasmanian Health System,” Associate Professor Owler said.
“The future for Tasmania requires a long term funding commitment from both the State and Federal Governments to address the problems that currently exist in Tasmania,” Associate Professor Owler said.