Published on October 7, 2004 at 8:35 AM
The sick could be thousands of dollars out of pocket if the Federal Labor Government abolishes the Medicare Safety Net should it come in to power this weekend.
AMA (WA) President Dr Paul Skerritt said the plan to scrap the Medicare Safety Net, which complements the successful PBS Safety Net, will hit people hard when they are most vulnerable.
"For people with a complex medical condition the costs add up and we fear that this senseless decision to leave patients exposed will cause great anxiety for patients," he said.
"While Mr Latham continues to trumpet his untenable Medicare Gold Policy he is forgetting to inform voters of his plan to abolish the Medicare Safety Net."
Dr Skerritt also warned of the negative impact on public hospitals should the Safety Net be abolished.
"Australians won't be able to afford private care without a Safety Net and it will force our already overburdened public hospital system to split at the seam," he said.
"The AMA (WA) is this week voicing its dismay that the Labor Party has chosen to axe such an important benefit by placing full page advertisements in several WA newspapers."
The Medicare Safety Net reimburses 80 per cent of the gap between the rebate and the charge for non impatient services once a threshold has been met.
The Safety Net threshold for pensioners and families is $300 annually and $700 for high income families and singles.
The Medicare Safety Net does not just include the cost of GP visits but a range of treatments including specialist consultations, tests, x-rays and scans.
"People don't plan to get sick and when they do Doctors want them to concentrate on getting better, not stressing about how they will pay their medical expenses," Dr Skerritt said.