PM denies split in review committee over rebate cut

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has denied there was a split with his most senior Cabinet colleague over a now-abandoned Medicare rebate cut.

On Tuesday Mr Abbott told reporters that reports in recent days of a split in the high-level expenditure review committee were "not true".

Treasurer Joe Hockey and then-Health Minister Peter Dutton had reportedly opposed the $20 Medicare rebate cut, but Mr Abbott had supposedly overruled them.

But Mr Abbott said while discussions in the "razor gang" committee was often "vigorous", all decisions were "unanimous", including the decision on the cut.

The government has already dropped the proposal after a strong backlash from the Australian Medical Association and rural health groups, among others.

But Mr Abbott said the cut was only "taken off the table" pending "further consultations" and the government was still committed to a "price signal" to ensure more Australians paid directly for their healthcare.

"The fundamental principle is we've got to make Medicare more sustainable, we've got to protect our great Medicare system and over time that does mean more price signals in the system," he said.


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