This would concentrate the discussion on what it costs to deliver quality care, workforce and appropriate service delivery and remuneration structures for acute, chronic and preventive care rather than some simplistic and false notion of what will provide cost control.
Finally, we need to take advantage of the cost efficiencies that bulk-billing can provide for acute care but recognise that the regulatory (no co-payment) limitations on this are not helping practices be the best they can be or patients appreciate quality or become more discerning in their care options. Most patients could afford and indeed would not object to a reasonable co-payment if the system was simple and transparent, and a safety net was in place.
This co-payment should be set by the practice and the market, and not imposed by government. To change the legislation allowing a co-payment to be charged would be difficult in the current political circumstances but there are other ways to achieve the same end.
Ultimately, the freeze on rebates will see many good GPs go to the wall along with quality care and years of our attempts to raise the importance, prestige and status of general and rural practice. The community will not get their return on the investments made and cynicism about primary healthcare will be rampant.
Going back to the old system of inadequate indexation is not a solution. Nor is it time for slogans and platitudes.mediate lift of the freeze..."