Out-of-pocket healthcare costs inquiry expected

The motion, led by Greens Senator Dr Richard Di Natale, calls for an inquiry to examine the impact of co-payments on consumers' ability to access healthcare, and related healthcare outcomes and costs.

It will also seek to investigate the role of private health insurers, the likely effects of co-payments on other parts of the health system as well as the “appropriateness and effectiveness of safety nets and other offsets”.

The motion is expected to pass with the support of Labor senators this afternoon. The inquiry’s final report is due to be tabled by 16 July.

It comes amid speculation that the government may seek to introduce a co-payment for bulk-billed services or move to means testing in the May budget. 

Ahead of the vote, Shadow Health Minister Catherine King told MO the inquiry was important to gauge the impact a co-payments could have on Australians.

She labelled government assertions that

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