Australia PM Abbott drops unpopular proposal to charge a $5 “discretionary” fee for consultations between doctors and patients

Peace and Freedom

Lisa Cox and Dan Harrison

The federal government has dumped its plan to charge patients a $7 fee to see a doctor, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced.

However, doctors will be invited to charge a $5 “discretionary” fee for consultations with non-concessional patients to recover income lost through a $5 cut to the Medicare rebate.

In a press conference in Canberra on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Abbott conceded the unpopular proposal – first detailed in the May budget – did not have the support to pass the Senate.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, pictured with Health Minister Peter Dutton, has conceded the government's planned $7 GP fee will have little hope of passing the Senate.Prime Minister Tony Abbott, pictured with Health Minister Peter Dutton, has conceded the government’s planned $7 GP fee will have little hope of passing the Senate. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The government will stick, however, with its plan to reduce the Medicare rebate GPs receive for common consultations by $5 for adults who are non-concession card holders from July 1 next year. Under the…

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