Medicare co-payment, health to be examined

TasCOSS chief executive Tony Reidy

TasCOSS chief executive Tony Reidy

THE federal government's $7 Medicare co-payment will be the hot topic at a health forum in Hobart today.

Canberra-based health policy consultant and Centre for Policy Research fellow Jennifer Doggett will be the keynote speaker at the Tasmanian Council of Social Service and Tasmanian Medicare Action Group Feeling Sick: Medicare co-payments and our health forum.

TasCOSS chief executive Tony Reidy said he hoped a good cross-section of the community would turn up to the Baha'i Centre, from noon.

"There are a number of moves in the federal budget, which really see our universal healthcare system under attack," he said.

"We are trying to provide a forum that will bring a focus on these issues and allow the federal senators from Tasmania, in particular, to understand the significant impact these proposals will have on healthcare in Tasmania.

"We are hoping for strong representation from right across the community."

Mr Reidy said there was clear research that shows the federal budget's propositions would most affect low-income earners in Tasmania, which has the lowest incomes in the nation.

He said Tasmania had the strongest reliance on Commonwealth benefits as well as some of the worst statistics on chronic health issues in Australia.

"When we talk about anything that puts a barrier up to people, particularly on low incomes, attending a GP or having proper healthcare provided to them, then there will undoubtedly be long-term health consequences for the state, which means much higher costs in the hospital system through this short- sighted policy," he said.

Independent Hobart- based health analyst Martyn Goddard will also speak.

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