Labor warns on GP payment

HEALTH Minister Michelle O'Byrne - along with Labor Senator Penny Wong - has warned voters that electing a state Liberal government could see each visit to the GP require a $6 Medicare co- payment.

Ms O'Byrne said Prime Minister Tony Abbott's plan to introduce the co-payment would lead to a 74 per cent increase in emergency department presentations.

"We know that one of the biggest challenges we have is meeting the health needs of our community and we know that emergency departments are having more presentations now than they've ever had before and that is likely to rise," Ms O'Byrne said.

"If you then extrapolate a $6 tax, which makes parents say, `actually I'll go to the hospital rather than go and see my GP', the demand on the health system will increase."

Ms Wong said the reason Mr Abbott was really barracking for Will Hodgman to form government was because he knew a Liberal government in Tasmania would never stand up to him.

"He knows Will Hodgman means a green light to introduce a whole range of policies, including the GP tax that Tony Abbott didn't tell Australians about, and we also know that there's 900 pages of secret cuts on Tony Abbott's desk, the Commission of Audit report.

"You think before the Tasmanian election, Tasmanians might like to know what is being planned so they can ask Mr Hodgman what he will do about them."

Opposition health spokesman Jeremy Rockliff said this was "another silly scare campaign from Labor".

"Tasmanians well know that it was Michelle O'Byrne that gutted the health system, it was Michelle O'Byrne that sacked doctors and nurses and it was Michelle O'Byrne that caused the surgery waiting lists to skyrocket," Mr Rockliff said.

"We will not be lectured to on health by the person who butchered the health system and has caused thousands of sick Tasmanians unnecessary pain and suffering."

Michelle O'Byrne with Penny Wong in Launceston yesterday.

Michelle O'Byrne with Penny Wong in Launceston yesterday.


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