The federal government's plan to means test the private health insurance rebate may be in doubt, after independent MP Andrew Wilkie indicated that he was withdrawing his support.
"Because a lot of time has passed since then, I now need to look afresh at that issue and look afresh at the evidence I had then and see if there is any new evidence," he told News Limited today (January 20).
Mr Wilkie's change in position comes after he met with the prime minister last night to discuss his bid for mandatory pre-commitment laws.
The proposed bill is expected to deliver a $768 million saving to the budget next financial year.
Currently, Greens MP Adam Bandt is a supporter of the legislation – however his party told News Limited that it did not support the move to increase the surcharge on Australians who do not take out a private health insurance policy.
Those opposed to the means testing include independents Bob Katter and Tony Windsor, while Rob Oakeshott holds the deciding vote.
Yesterday health minister Tanya Plibersek claimed that the private health insurance industry was robust enough to not be affected should the legislation be passed through parliament.