Today marks one year since Tony Abbott’s Cabinet committed to breaking a clear election promise by voting to inflict its GP Tax on patients.
In a blatant repudiation of his commitment to voters just seven months earlier of “no new taxes” and “no cuts to health” Tony Abbott’s cabinet voted to force every Australian, including pensioners, children and the chronically ill, to pay a $7 charge every time this visited a GP.
Despite every health expert advising against it the Abbott Government decided to push ahead with a GP Tax that could only put more pressure on Australia’s hospital system, leave families out of pocket and lead to much worse health outcomes.
In a Budget littered with lies and disastrous policies, few were as blatantly deceitful and damaging as the GP Tax.
And yet, one year later, despite falsely declaring that the GP Tax is dead, the Abbott Government’s current Health Minister is continuing to pursue what is now the 4th version of the Tax.
After abandoning the $7 GP Tax, the $5 GP Tax, and the $20 GP Tax, the minister is now attempting to introduce what will effectively be an $8 GP Tax through the backdoor by freezing the rebate paid to GPs, and forcing them to make up lost income by charging patients.
"Even though the rebate reduction has been retracted, the freeze will have greater impact with time — nearly double the amount of the rebate reduction by 2017–18. For economic reasons, the freeze may still force GPs who currently bulk bill to charge copayments."
“The Cost of Freezing General Practice” Medical Journal of Australia
This confirms what Labor has repeatedly warned. Tony Abbott’s promise that the GP Tax is dead is as believable as his promises before the election that of no new taxes and no cuts to health.
“Co-payment”, “price signal”, “value signal” or “direct billing”, it doesn’t matter what the Government calls it, the end result is still the same – it’s still a GP Tax, it’s still an attack on Medicare, and patients are still being hit for more.
Today’s anniversary confirms that the greatest threat to Medicare remains a Liberal Government.
Labor built Medicare.
Only Labor believes in Medicare.
Medicare will only ever be safe under a Labor government.