Peter Dutton rules out watering down GP co-payment

The Minister for Health Peter Dutton.
The Minister for Health Peter Dutton. AAP

FEDERAL Health Minister Peter Dutton seems to have ruled out any talks on watering down the Abbott government's $7 GP co-payment.

Mr Dutton told reporters in Canberra on Monday that the government believed strongly in the controversial co-payment, which will be charged on the first 10 GP visits for most Australians from July.

He said the government's Medicare package was "worth supporting and on that basis we are not for negotiating".

Rather, Mr Dutton said if opponents of the GP co-payment were considering negotiating, if they wanted to continue the Medicare model then "you need to support this package".

Despite his statements, the Health Minister still left room for potential talks, if the pressure to negotiate continues to increase, saying the days of 100% bulk billing were over.

"That was never the intention of bulk billing; it was always about trying to provide assistance to those most in need," he said.

"That's the principle we provide in this package and we believe it should be supported in its current form."

The GP co-payment is one of a raft of budget measures the government will be seeking Senate crossbench support for, to ensure the government's entire budget will reach its target of a surplus in 10 years.

Topics:  budget 2014 gp co-payment peter dutton

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