COTA Australia, the peak body for older Australians, has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement today that pensioners, veterans and doctor’s visits to aged care facilities will be fully exempt from the GP co-payment.
Chief Executive Ian Yates said older people are already struggling to meet high out-of-pocket healthcare costs and an additional charge would place an unreasonable burden on many seniors.
“Since the Budget announcement we have received a continuous stream of calls from older people worried about how they would meet their healthcare costs. Today’s backdown on levying a GP co-payment will be welcome by pensioners, veterans and residents of aged care facilities,” Mr Yates said today.
“COTA also supports measures offering GPs incentives for spending a reasonable time with patients, especially important for a holistic approach to treating older patients or those with chronic conditions.
“However there are still a significant number of older Australians who do not meet the co-payment exemption criteria and the risk remains that they will fall through the cracks.
“COTA Australia remains of the view that there should not be price impediments to any older Australians, or Australians generally, accessing primary healthcare.
“People should be encouraged to access primary health care as soon as they have a health issue, to stop its escalating and creating both health risks and additional costs of higher level services.
“There is no sign the government is looking at tackling the supply and pricing of specialist and tertiary level medical services,” he said.
Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Jane Garcia 0434 489 533.
COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.