Co-payments for health care: What is their real cost?

Tracey Lea Laba*, Tim Usherwood, Stephen Leeder, Farhat Yusuf, James Gillespie, Vlado Perkovic, Andrew Wilson, Stephen Jan, Beverley Essue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Based on the premise that current trends in healthcare spending are unsustainable, the Australian Government has proposed in the recent Budget the introduction of a compulsory $7 co-payment to visit a General Practitioner (GP), alongside increased medication copayments. This paper is based on a recent submission to the Senate Inquiry into the impact of out-of-pocket costs in Australia. It is based on a growing body of evidence highlighting the substantial economic burden faced by individuals and families as a result of out-of-pocket costs for health care and their flow-on effects on healthcare access, outcomes and long-term healthcare costs. It is argued that a compulsory minimum co-payment for GP consultations will exacerbate these burdens and significantly undermine the tenets of universal access in Medicare. Alternative recommendations are provided that may help harness unsustainable health spending while promoting an equitable and fair health system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-36
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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