Co-payment change is no backflip: Analysis

The government says it has ditched plans for a 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 today 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 signals were not a bad thing and the new “modest” charge would ensure Medicare flourished in the future.

“I’m a great supporter of Medicare,” he told the Nine Network. “I used to say I was the best friend that Medicare had ever had.”

MO political reporter Flynn Murphy has analysed the politics behind the government’s change of plan.