‘Double whammy’ inflicts pain

One of the major talking points of Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey’s first Budget, delivered on Tuesday, was the $7 ‘co-payment’ to visit a GP, have a blood test or an x-ray. The co-payment is set to help create a $20 billion future health fund for medical research.

Mr Gray said the Government had delivered a ‘double whammy’ to healthcare in Brand with the ‘tax’, after it announced it would cut funding for a planned GP Superclinic in Rockingham earlier this year.

He said the $7 cost to visit a GP would ‘disproportionately’ affect those in Brand, which has recorded the highest rate of bulk billing in WA at 82.16 per cent.

‘My real concern is that introducing a GP tax could make services inaccessible, particularly for families with young children and the elderly,’ he said.

Mr Gray said the co-payment would put more pressure on local hospitals and result in worse health outcomes for many families.

‘This is only the first step in their attack on Medicare and will open the floodgates for the Liberals to dismantle Medicare further,’ he said.

WA senator and one-time, self-dubbed ‘Patron Senator for Brand’, Michaelia Cash said the $20 billion fund created by the co-payment would help prevent illness.

‘By making the health system more sustainable and investing in medical research, we are ensuring Australia remains the best and healthiest place in the world to raise a family and care for loved ones,’ she said.

Ms Cash said the Government was honouring its commitment to reduce the overall tax burden on families.

‘We are all playing a part, because it’s in sharing the load that we lighten the load,’ she said.