Medicare charge to hit 'hardest' in the south-west

WERRIWA MP Laurie Ferguson says a proposed $7 Medicare co-payment is one of most concerning possible measures to be brought in with this year's budget.

When the Champion spoke to the Labor MP on Monday he said based on the speculation before its release, the 2014 federal budget could contain several items which would be a concern for his constituents.

"The lower socio-economic indicators of the residents of south-west Sydney will mean that the people here will be hardest hit by a co-payment," Mr Ferguson said.

"When their child is sick people will be more tempted to think: 'that's OK, he'll get over it'."

Mr Ferguson also said the abolition of Medicare Locals would lead to an absence of medical services in the area and an increased petrol excise would be more damaging to residents of the south-west, who commute further than other Sydneysiders.

However, Hughes MP Craig Kelly, a Liberal, said that while he wouldn't know the details of the budget until it was released on Tuesday night, after this newspaper's deadline, he said Medicare costs were increasing astronomically.

"This co-payment is a way of getting a few more dollars into Medicare so that the service can stay there for years and years to come," Mr Kelly said.

"I think that a $7 co-payment is a small contribution."

He said that a tough budget was a necessity because Australia had lot of debt.

"Every single man, woman and child in Australia now owes $13,500. It's best to tackle that debt today so we don't leave it for our kids and grandkids to pay off in the future."

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