The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the bill for a third time.(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. ) This means that the majority agree to pass the bill in the House and that it will now be sent to the Senate for their consideration.
Background to the bill
The bill implements one of the measures proposed by the Government as part of its 2014-15 Budget.(Read more about the Government's Budget proposal here. ) It will amend the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme ('PBS') so as to:
- increase the concessional patient co-payment by 80 cents from 1 January 2015;
- increase the general patient co-payment by $5.00 from 1 January 2015;
- increase the concessional safety net threshold by two prescriptions each year for four years, from 2015 to 2018; and
- increase the general patient safety net threshold by 10 per cent each year for four years, from 2015 to 2018.
(More information about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum and bills digest, is available here.)
A co-payment is the amount paid by the patient towards the cost of their PBS medicine. The government covers the rest of the cost.