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Federal Government must protect people living with MS

blood pressure test
10 December 2014

MS Australia has called on the Federal Government to protect people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other lifelong conditions as part of new regulations being drafted to incorporate changes to the co-payment proposal.

MS Australia Chief Executive Officer Debra Cerasa said there is significant concern and confusion amongst the MS community regarding yesterday’s co-payment announcement and some assurance is needed.

“Yesterday’s back down on the $7 GP co-payment unfortunately raised more questions than answers,” Ms Cerasa said.

“It appears health care card holders will be exempt from the new charges but the reality is there will still be thousands of people with MS and other chronic conditions being asked to pick up the tab.”

Ms Cerasa said MS is the most common neurological condition impacting young adults across the country and adjusting to a diagnosis is never easy.

“MS is a disease that unfortunately strikes people in the prime of their lives and has a significant impact on their ability to work. In fact, more than 50% of people with MS are unable to continue to work within 10 years of diagnosis,” she said.

“This can take a significant financial toll on people with MS, their carers and loved ones.

“Adding to this a burden of increased GP charges could limit their ability to obtain a timely diagnosis, seek treatment for their symptoms and get access to appropriate medicines. 

“It is quite simply an unnecessary hurdle to place in front of people who are already doing it tough.”

MS Australia is calling on the Government to consider broader exemptions when drafting the new regulations that protect people with MS and other lifelong conditions.