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  • Nurses and midwives oppose AMA copayment push

    Author: Karen Keast

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has rejected the Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) push for a $6.15 GP co-payment.

The peak body for nurses and midwives is standing firm against the introduction of all co-payments despite the AMA pushing for a co-payment where concession card holders and children under 16 are exempt.

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The AMA’s model also calls for aged care and home visits, along with treatment for mental health and chronic disease, to be excluded from the co-payment fee.

The proposal comes as Prime Minister Tony Abbott told media the government will continue to forge ahead with its $7 co-payment, which exempts concession card holders and children after their first 10 visits.

ANMF federal secretary Lee Thomas said the introduction of any form of co-payment for basic health services will hurt communities nation-wide.


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“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 in a statement.

“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.”

Ms Thomas said the introduction of co-payments will result in more people attending already crowded hospital EDs or simply not seeking any treatment.

“We need to focus on measures that will benefit the health of all,” she said.

“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 has launched its Lies, Cuts and Broken Promises campaign in a bid to show a groundswell of support against the changes outlined in the federal budget, and to convince senators to reject the cost-cutting measures.


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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords