PHAA supports 'No GP Tax in our name!' Campaign

30 May, 2014

The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) has thrown its support behind the 'No GP Tax in our name!' Campaign.

The 'No GP Tax in our name!' Campaign asks Australian health and medical researchers - and all concerned citizens - to take a stand against the Australian government's decision to fund medical research through the new GP Tax.

Professor Fran Baum from Flinders University, Chair of PHAA's Public Health Research Advisory Group, explains: "It is unethical to fund medical research with a GP Tax which will discourage people from visiting their GP and detract from the universal free-at-the-point-of-use nature of Medicare. 

Compassionate country

"This new tax will fall hardest on the most disadvantaged, and those with low incomes or a chronic condition.  It will increase demand on already over-stretched emergency departments and public hospitals.  We don't need a hastily thought out scheme that links a GP Tax to research income.  We can afford to be a compassionate country which cares for all its citizens and funds universal free-at-the-point-of-use health services."

The 'No GP tax in our name!' Campaign is calling on the Australian government to fund health and medical research through universal, fair and progressive taxation and to delink the funding from the GP Tax.

Michael Moore, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the PHAA says: "We vehemently oppose the introduction of a $7 co-payment for GP visits, out-of-hospital pathology and diagnostic imaging services – this a regressive measure that will invariably create barriers to accessing primary care for disadvantaged Australians and ultimately lead to larger burdens on hospitals. 

Long term impact

"The longer term impact will be compounded by a $5 co-payment for PBS-listed medicines, cuts to funding for preventive health measures and a range of other budget cuts that will impact disproportionately on disadvantaged Australians."

Moore explains: "The federal budget effectively puts the boot into disadvantaged, marginalised and low income Australians in a way that will invariably result in greater costs to the health system in the long term.  It's long term pain for short term gain – these spending cuts will cost a lot more over time. It's not fair, it's not right and it's certainly not smart from an economic perspective.  The creation of the new Medical Research Fund will do nothing to mitigate a diminished focus on preventive health at the national level.

"That's why PHAA is happy to support the 'No GP Tax in our name!' Campaign," said Moore.