ANMF Rejects the AMA's Co-payment Plan

By Petrina Smith
Friday, 22 August, 2014

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has rejected  the Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) proposal for an alternate GP co-payment model and continues to oppose all proposals for GP and other co-payments.

Under the AMA plan for an alternate model released today, people would still pay $6.15 to see a doctor for basics health services, excluding concession card holders and children under 16.

But ANMF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, said the introduction of any form of co-payments for basic health services will hurt communities across the country and will see Australians unable to access care at times of critical need and ultimately dismantle Medicare entirely.

“We support the AMA’s position that there be no cuts to the Medicare patient rebate, but the ANMF’s view on co-payments remains unchanged – we strongly oppose any form of a user pays scheme for basic health services,” Ms Thomas said.

“The AMA, like the Government talks about sending a ‘price signal’, but out of pocket costs are already far too high and the introduction of co-payments will only shift further cost burden on to individual patients – and that’s not the answer.

“There is no evidence that co-payments will achieve improved health outcomes or budget savings.

“We need to forget about price signals. This will only turn people away from seeing a doctor and they will head to already crowded hospital EDs, or worse still put off being treated altogether. We need to focus on measures that will benefit the health of all.

“From our perspective, it’s really disappointing that the AMA has come up with such a short-sighted solution because GP and other services provided by doctors are only one part of Australia’s multifaceted health system.

“The ANMF will continue to campaign actively against the introduction of all co-payments and other cuts to health, for the sake of all Australians.”

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