Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called on Health Minister James Reilly to immediately publish the White Paper on Universal Health Insurance. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“The long-promised and long overdue White Paper on Universal Health Insurance has been extensively leaked in the past week and is clearly in the possession of several journalists. Yet it has not been published and members of the Oireachtas and the general public are being treated with contempt as Ministers Reilly and Howlin carry on a war of leaks.
“Our health services are in crisis and plans for their future must be fully and openly debated - not the subject of a dog-fight between rival Ministers in Government.
“The Fine Gael-Labour Coalition’s concept of Universal Health Insurance based on competing private health insurance companies is one that we in Sinn Féin have criticised as fundamentally flawed. Even from the leaked extracts the huge problems with such a system are apparent.
“Arising from this row we had the speculation earlier this week on the part of Minister of State for Health Alex White that the promised free GP care for all would not be free at all – that a fee might apply. When is free GP care not free? This certainly exposes the lack of clarity and lack of coherence in this Coalition’s approach to healthcare.
“The White Paper on Universal Health Insurance should be published immediately. Everyone can then judge for themselves and we can have a real debate focussed on the facts and on the needs of health service users.”