Joe Hockey: GP co-payment exemptions are being considered
APN NewsdeskTREASURER Joe Hockey says the government is "prepared to deal with the reality" of likely changes to the government's $7 GP co-payment, including possible exemptions for some people.
Mr Hockey, speaking on ABC Radio on Wednesday after meeting with key crossbench figure Clive Palmer, confirmed further exemptions from the tax were being considered.
"Now they may have variations on those measures and we're prepared to deal with the reality," he said.
His comments follow Health Minister Peter Dutton last week confirming the government was assessing new options, including the Australian Medical Association's proposal to widen some exemptions.
It also follows several government MPs calling on the frontbench to consider exemptions from pensioners, including central Queensland MP George Christensen, who renewed the call on Wednesday.
"After extensive consultation with North Queenslanders since the budget, I believe pensioners and other disadvantaged people should be exempt from the payment," he said.
But after meeting with Mr Hockey, Mr Palmer seems to be wavering in his position, first saying he would consider the AMA's exemptions, likely for concession card holders.
But he later said only lower income earners must be exempt, ruling out action on the AMA's "hypothetical" - the actual proposals of which have not been released by the government or the association.
Mr Christensen said it was good to the AMA working with the government, maintaining internal party pressure on the government to ensure pensioners were exempt.