joe hockey — a shot in the arm for the pubs of australia...
Forget inflation; forget the government bond rate. Treasurer Joe Hockey on Thursday morning injected a new price measure into the political lexicon: the Middy Exchange Rate (MER).
In an interview with the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann on Thursday morning, Mr Hockey said Labor and doctors’ groups needed a reality check on the impact of a $7 Medicare co-payment on GP visits
Doctors will be financially penalised $11 for bulk-billing concession card holders and children under the government's proposed changes to Medicare.
The Australian Medical Association says small medical practices could lose up to 25% of their income if they continue to bulk-bill.
AMA president, Steve Hambleton, said: “The government is replacing a very straight, a very simple, very clear system with a very complex, very obtuse co-payment system which requires new software,” he said.
Hambleton said the policy would hit the most disadvantaged the hardest including low-income earners, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and people with chronic illnesses.
“It’s a nightmare,” he said.
Currently doctors receive a $36.60 rebate from the government for each patient they see, which will be reduced to $31.60 under the new system. In metropolitan areas doctors receive a $6 low-gap incentive payment when they bulk-bill concession card holders and children under 16.
Under the new system doctors will only receive the low-gap incentive if they charge the co-payment. So instead of receiving the $42.60 they currently get for bulk-billing a disadvantaged patient, they will receive $31.60. If they charge the co-payment they will get $44.60 for treating a disadvantaged patient.