Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, responding to the Government’s White Paper on Universal Health Insurance, has said that it is fundamentally flawed and is not the path towards universal healthcare.
“This White Paper is the fundamentally flawed Fine Gael model based on competing private-for-profit health insurance companies. It would amount to the privatisation of our health services.
“The Minister for Health James Reilly has managed to produce a document that is both very late and half-baked. Even though the Government promised to publish this early in its term the document only appears now and it has no costings. What have they been doing for the past three years?
“What is compulsory health insurance going to cost people who have neither medical card nor private health insurance at present? That is a key question and it is not answered in this document.
“By basing the funding of our health services on competing private health insurance this White Paper would shift the emphasis from the provision of care to the accumulation of profit by private interests.
“The document does not describe the ‘basket of care’ that would be provided under UHI which a consultation process is supposedly going to help determine. This immediately raises the question of what conditions, syndromes and needs will not be covered.
“We are being presented with a consultation process with a pre-determined outcome and a deadline of 28 May, clashing directly with local and European elections. That is an insult.
“This White Paper is clearly a Fine Gael document. There is no sign of the Labour Party’s pre-election commitment to a system based on a single State insurance provider.
“Sinn Féin wants to see universal public healthcare based on medical need and funded from fair and reformed general taxation. On this basis we will be participating in the consultation and the debate and we will make our own party submission.”