A new report showing health spending has grown at its slowest rate in 30 years "bells the cat" on claims a GP co-payment is needed to make Medicare more sustainable, Labor says.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says expenditure on health reached $147.4 billion in 2012-13, up 1.5 per cent from $142 billion in the previous year.
On average $6430 is spent on the health needs of every Australian each year - $17 less per person than in the previous year.
It is the lowest growth the institute has recorded since it began the health expenditure Australia series in the mid-1980s.
Labor's health spokeswoman Catherine King said the report showed the government case for the $7 co-payment was "a complete and utter lie".
"The report overnight bells the cat on the government's claim that health spending is unsustainable," she told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
Doctors say the government has been feeding the public a false narrative on the co-payment.
"The Abbott government has justified its extreme health budget measures on the basis that health spending is out of control. Clearly it is not," Australian Medical Association president Brian Owler said.
But the government rejected suggestions it had lied about the need for the co-payment.
Health spending, both government and private, had more than doubled from $69 billion to $147 billion in the decade to 2012-13, it said.