Govt cuts rebate to GPs in co-pay overhaul

This will amount to about a 13% per pay cut for GPs, but it will be up to doctors to decide whether their patients make up the difference or to bulk-bill them, the government said Tuesday.

The rebate cut will be introduced through regulation and will begin on 1 July 2015. It is expected to save the government $3.5 billion over the forward estimates.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced the government will ditch its original plans for the $7 Medicare co-payment, announced in the 2014—15 budget.

Mr Abbott said while a change to Medicare claiming will require legislation, the change to rebates will be achieved through regulation.

In a departure from the original plan, the new plan would not impose a co-payment on pathology and diagnostic imaging services. It would not apply to pensioners, Commonwealth concession card holders, children under 16 and veterans receiving benefits through the Department of Veterans' Affairs.