The 2014 Australian budget and first for LNP party has caused quite the controversy. There are cuts everywhere, unviersities can set their own fees, HECS debt threshold reduced and the big one: people will have to pay $7 to see a GP.
The $7 GP fee which most will have to pay when seeing a doctor who bulk-bills (80% of all current doctor visits) is to be paid by everyone. Those who don’t see doctors that bulk bill will have to pay an extra $5 on top of the consultation fee thanks to a reduction in the medicare rebate.
Why should everyone pay more?
There are some stark differences between myself and someone in their 60’s. As someone in their mid-twenties, my health is higher, I need to see the doctor less, in comparison to someone almost three times my age who will need to see the doctor more often than I would.
So why should me and someone three times my senior almost pay the same amount to see a doctor?
I believe the GP payment should be based on payscale. If you earn $50k a year, you should pay $15 to see a doctor. If you earn $80k a year, you should pay $25 to see a doctor. If you earn $25k a year, you should pay nothing. If your household income is under $70k, you should pay nothing. If you’re a single mother, you should pay nothing and so on.
This approach would have some capped values, so people earning considerably more and seeing a bulk-bill doctor wouldn’t pay over a certain amount. The idea is that people who can afford to pay more are covering the shortfall caused by those who are paying very little or nothing.
Sure, my approach might have some flaws, but I feel as though it would be a considerably better solution. I am not rich by any means, I have bills to pay too, but I hardly see the doctor unless I am super sick (which is hardly ever).
I could warrant paying $15 to see a doctor which is still cheaper then paying to see a doctor who doesn’t bulk bill where fees can run into the $60+ figures. And above all, remember things aren’t nearly as bad as they are in America.