Specialists charge rich and poor patients differently

SPECIALISTS vary their fees depending on what they think their patients can afford, report Australian economists.

On average, high-income patients are charged $26 more for an initial consultation than those on a low income, according to data from a large population survey linked to Medicare rebate records.

But the mark-up varies substantially from specialty to specialty, with neurosurgeons charging their higher-income patients $53 more for the initial consult.

Dermatologists and ENT specialists also discriminate highly according to income, while