GPs will charge patients for co-pay changes: AMA

The government has ditched plans for the mandatory co-payment and is instead introducing an optional $5 payment to be charged at the discretion of doctors to make up for a reduction in the rebate they'll receive from Medicare.

Pensioners and other concession card holders, children under 16 and those living in aged-care facilities will be exempt from the charge.

Mr Abbott denied the new policy was a backflip, but said it was a sign of an effective Senate - which had been blocking the budget measure.

He said price