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Axe the tax: this is a real Labor policy
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Axe the tax: this is a real Labor policy

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Axe the tax: this is a real Labor policy

A five-dollar GP tax is bad public policy; it will do little to reduce unnecessary trips to the doctor, but will harm those who need to see the GP the most.

Proponents say that it is supposed to reduce unnecessary trips to the doctor, it will not.

The GP tax is supposed to signal that medical care is not free. This means that the price should reduce demand. Well, this seems reasonable, it sounds like solid economics, except when you think about it.

Five dollars does not seem like a large enough amounts to prevent someone from visiting the doctor. Generally, people will sacrifice a cup and a half of coffee, for a trip to the GP. Especially, if they are, in the examples of the worried mother taking their son with a runny nose to the GP, worried.

The demand curve for medical treatment is inelastic; if you think your headache is a brain tumour, you are probably going to go the GP, you might even insist on getting a scan, to great personal expense. Do not, laugh, it has happened.

The other slight issue with this argument is that most trips to the doctor are genuine, AMA President

Further, if you have a GP tax people may then substitute GP visits with emergency room trips, which would increase waiting times at already overcrowded emergency rooms, preventing those with actual emergencies from being diagnosed and treated quickly, which sounds dangerous.

There is a group, who do not go to the doctor, as much and die more. That group may be the ones who stop going to the doctor.

The men, who are working hard to make a living, bringing shelter from the rain, with blue denim in their veins, a father’s son left to carry on, the working class man.

Men are underrepresented in trips to see the GP, eighty six percent of women to seventy-six percent of men in 2012.

Men tend not to go the GP for a couple of reasons; the first is that men are more likely to work full-time. GP office hours tend to be during full-time working hours, which conflicts with the working day, unfortunately, the Australian culture of the ‘sickie’ does not extend to actually going to the doctor’s office.

The Australian ‘macho man’, who does not want to like be defeatist and go the doctor also contributes, the image of men having to ‘man up’ instead of going to the doctor. Men tend to go to the doctor more for a higher proportion of physical and tangible problems compared with mental health issues, than women, despite having proportionally more mental health issues, indicating the pervasive ‘man up’ culture.

Going to the doctor can also be embarrassing; few men of a certain age enjoy speaking to doctors about their prostates; fewer still enjoy getting it checked, despite early detection being vital for prostate cancer.

Those on low-incomes or event those on average incomes with a mortgage, who need to work every day of the week to get by, they may also be casuals or self-employed not having the luxury of sick leave paid for by the company, will be most affected by the GP tax. Especially as we have bred a stoic nature into those who work hard.

A GP tax makes this problem worse by providing an additional excuse to avoid seeing the doctor for a group that already needs to see the doctor more.

Instead of creating a GP tax, maybe, defunding treatments for which there is no evidence such as arthoscopies for osteoarthritis would be a more pro-freedom stance, than creating a bureaucracy to administer GP tax.

The GP tax is a tax on services, which will stop vital GP visits by males on a low-income, but not stop Mary taking Abdul to the GP for his runny nose. The Abbott government would be well advised to axe the tax; it is a real Labor policy

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