The government’s $7 Medicare co-payment plan appears dead, with Clive Palmer saying his party will not support a GP charge “of even one cent”.
The Palmer United Party voted against the measure at a strategy meeting on Tuesday, assuring $3.5 billion in budget savings will be blocked in the Senate.
Labor and the Greens are also opposed to the unpopular payment.
Mr Palmer said he and his senators had unanimously decided not to support a doctor’s charge.
“So there’s no question – there won’t be a co-payment,” Mr Palmer told reporters in Canberra.
“Any speculation that there will be one is just hot air.”
Earlier, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the co-payment should be passed in its current form amid speculation the charge could be cut or exemptions broadened to gain crossbench support.
“That’s what we’re working towards,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
“We stand by all the measures in the budget.”