Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Arts, Heritage, Tourism & Sport, Sandra McLellan TD, has said today, “Consecutive governments, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour Party, have failed the Irish people when it comes to delivery of health care. Our health services are in crisis and in need of serious, radical reform.”
Speaking in the Dáil during a debate on the government’s proposed Universal Health Insurance, McLellan said:
“Sinn Féin believes that health care is a right and not a privilege. It is an essential service that should be accessed based on need and not income or private health insurance.
“It should be free at the point of delivery and funded by a progressive taxation policy. No one skipping queues with the wave of a cheque book or a private health care plan.
“The government’s proposal amounts to the total privatisation of our health care system. This White Paper is the fundamentally flawed Fine Gael model based on competing private-for-profit health insurance companies. The only people to benefit will be the private companies.
“Compulsory health insurance will mean hard pressed families having to pay out more money for basic services that were once seen as an essential service funded by our taxes.
“The big difference between our proposal and the governments is that Sinn Féin’s is based on meeting the needs of the public while yours is about meeting the needs of insurance companies.
“The current health care system is a two tier system where wealth can buy you better care in the private health sector, a private sector subsidised by the Government at the expense of the public system.
“We fully understand the economic challenges this State faces. But front line staff and patients should not suffer for the sins of others.
“The real question is not why but, why not? Why won’t Fine Gael & the Labour Party make these changes. Because they are cut from the same political cloth as their predecessors in the Fianna Fáil government.
“We certainly will not take lectures on healthcare from Fianna Fáil.
“I would not trust Fianna Fáil with a packet of band aids not to mind the health care system.
“The government’s proposal on universal health insurance is a flawed response. It is an un-costed, half-baked attempt at getting good headlines for a minister that is joining a long list of crest fallen Fine Gael ministers.
“The real solution is a health care system based on need, not on your insurance policy.”