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Ley’s move a good step

JUST weeks after becoming the nation’s new Health Minister, the member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, yesterday made her mark by announcing a plan to slash the Medicare rebate for short GP visits had been scrapped.

The plan, introduced by regulation rather than Parliament, cut the rebate to GPs for short consultations with them passing on the shortfall to patients.

As recently as Wednesday, the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, had defended the proposal to cut $20.10 from the rebate to GPs for visits of less than 10 minutes.

Ms Ley’s announcement yesterday has understandably been widely welcomed by the Australian Medical Association, both nationally and locally. Doctors feared the rebate cut would reduce their ability to provide good service and increase demand on hospital emergency departments.

Yet one Wodonga doctor Bill Walton had backed the rebate reduction, saying it would promote better preventative health measures.

Mr Abbott this week challenged to doctors and the community to offer their opinions on Medicare reform.

And Ms Ley’s commitment to consultation means there is much more discussion ahead.

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