Frozen medicare indexation: co-payment by stealth?

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A two year extension to the medicare rebate indexation pause has been announced in the federal budget, extending it to 2020. The pause was introduced by Labor in 2013 for nine months, and had already been extended by the Coalition in 2014 to four years. In a statement the Minister for Health, Sussan Ley said, “The Coalition appreciates the efforts of many GPs to keep costs down during the indexation pause, which Labor first introduced.” But doctors aren’t sure this will be able to continue. Up until now GPs have taken the hit, but doctors are warning that the continued indexation freeze means they could be forced to charge patients up to thirty dollars for consultations in the future.

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