John Menadue. Seven dollar GP co-payment – and an unintended consequence

If the co-payment takes effect, it is likely to result in an increase in doctor’s fees. As Ian McAuley has pointed out, the attraction of bulk-billing for the doctor is that it removes the cost of handling and accounting for transactions. The invoice is sent directly to Medicare.

Once the doctor is obliged to handle the $7 co-payment, another transaction occurs; either by cash or probably credit card. This inevitable patient/doctor money transaction will provide the doctor with an opportunity to charge above the bulk billing rate.

As soon as doctors stop bulk-billing we can expect a rapid rise in doctor’s fees on top of the $7 co-payment. And the $7 co-payment may be just the beginning!


John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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