98% of under 13s now get “free” GP visits

Stuff reports:

A Government offer to subsidise free doctors’ visits to children under 13 has been taken up by 96 per cent of GP practices throughout New Zealand.

Minister Jonathan Coleman said the rate had far exceeded expectations.

“Of the 1012 general practices in the country, 96 per cent have opted in for free medical appointment, covering 98per cent of children aged under 13.”

That included rural practices too.

“It’s going to make a real difference, because families aren’t going to have to think twice about going to see the doctor,” he said.

The Government announced the $90 million programme as part of last year’s Budget, making children under the age of 13 eligible for free general practice visits and prescriptions from July 1.


I comment on this because a couple of months ago the Greens were claiming that the Government had not set the level of subsidy high enough, and that only 90% of families would be covered. I pointed out that the Greens were effectively calling for the level of subsidy to be set at the whatever the most expensive GP in NZ charges. The results show that the Greens were wrong in their claims.

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