FOI reveals GP co-pay modelling

An email exchange between two bureaucrats suggests Treasurer Joe Hockey was briefed on the average number of times Australians visit the doctor, despite going on to incorrectly claim they visit their doctor 11 times a year while justifying the $7 co-payment.

A treasury official emailed a health department bureaucrat on 9 May — four days before the budget was handed down — asking for numbers on access to pathology and diagnostic imaging for concessional and non-concessional patients. The email quoted statistics on the average GP visits, which showed concession card holders accessing services at a far greater rate than their non-concessional counterparts. 

"As discussed, in briefings with the treasurer, he has been keen to know what the 'average' use is," the email, which has been partially redacted, said. 

For the period 2012–13, concession card holders of all ages visited GPs an average of 8.4 times, age pensioners 10.7