Government selling same GP fee message

The new Health Minister announces the proposed changes to Medicare will not now take place (“Health Minister Sussan Ley backs away from plan to cut Medicare rebate”,, January 15). She says now is the time to pause and engage and consult. Would the time to do that not have been before this cobbled-up policy was announced and save the Prime Minister and his hapless colleagues  further embarrassment?

The uncertainty in critical areas such as health and education within the community is nothing short of disgraceful and the government should hang its collective head in shame for the potential deleterious affect on those most in need, due to non-consultative ideologically driven proposed legislation.

Al Clark Belrose

So is this the new reality of government policy-making? Announce (or sneak in) a new policy, then back down before it can be implemented because of a public outcry? Surely the time and money being wasted would be better spent on consulting with stakeholders and formulating actual considered and costed policies.

Pip Denton Kingsville (Vic)

If Labor welcomes rescinding the changes to Medicare GP payments due to come into effect on Monday, why does it use the pejorative term “back flip”?

Even saying the government had come to its senses would not be as negative.

J-Alice Hofler Dee Why

The government may have changed its tactics in trying to get doctors/patients to pay more, but it’s still trying to sell the same mixed message (“Labor kills off plans for $20 GP fee rise”, January 15). Either the plan is to improve health (end so-called “six-minute medicine”), or it’s to help repair the budget (cut rebates).  But they can’t stick to one or the other. And what’s happened to the medical research fund that was originally part of this confusing mix?

Richard Mason Newtown

Fair dinkum, has there ever been a government with less clue about planning and implementing policy than this one? They couldn’t run a chook raffle at the pub let alone be trusted to run the country.

Alan Scorer Gol Gol

The cuts to GPs are iniquitous. Just what is Tony Abbott thinking when  he cuts professional incomes and puts the onus for paying on the public, many of whom rely on bulk billing in order to consult a doctor. It is more of the right-wing ideology that wants to destroy any public welfare. Unfortunately, this time not only is it hitting the pockets of the less wealthy but also the pockets of professionals.

The continuing attempts by another Liberal government to destroy the basis of universal health coverage for Australians is a disgrace – but no surprise. Each has attempted to weaken Medicare since its inception. It is all part of the wider privatisation agenda of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy to paraphrase a famous phrase on democracy. This time it has backfired.

Augusta Monro Dural

Tony Abbott was accusing the previous government of incompetence ad nauseam    and now multiply that by 10 times or more for his government. With the Medicare debacle, he’s nowhere to hide. The budget was a botched up job from day one and they seem to lurch from crisis to crisis. If they need money, maybe they should slug a levy on turnover (instead of profits) for global companies  that are avoiding tax in Australia. This would not only boost their electoral prospect but will also be regarded by voters for taking tough actions on big boys who seem to enjoy real taxpayers’ subsidies.

Hitting the most vulnerable in the society is easy (they have done well with poor, asylum seekers, disabled, students)  but taking on the global companies is a big challenge that only a government of some competence can do. I will not hold my breath.

Mukul Desai Hunters Hill

I had a good laugh when I revisited a statement by Tony Abbott before the last election that he was the best friend that Medicare had. Talk about friends you don’t need. You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried.

Peter Finnegan Burrill Lake

The Abbott Government’s attempt to introduce a major change to Medicare by regulation without consultation  does nothing other than to suggest a cabinet flailing wildly as it drowns (” ‘Really dumb’ not to consult doctors”, January 15).

Norm Neill Darlinghurst

Source: The Age