Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Health insurance hike will be huge burden

28 November, 2008 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Commenting on the planned rise in average charges for VHI and other health insurers by up to 23%, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the Government’s policy is causing “health funding chaos”. He called on the Government to establish a Health Funding Commission to plan the transition to a fairer and more efficient system.

Deputy Ó Caoláin stated:

“Health insurance hikes will come as a further excessive burden on the many people on relatively low incomes who have taken out personal health insurance because the state of our public health services has driven them to ‘go private’. Many are now likely to give up their health insurance.

“The price rise highlights the fact that fatally flawed Government healthcare policy causes health funding chaos. Approximately 70% of the population pays for their healthcare twice – once through taxes and again through personal health insurance or direct user fees for GP services, medicines and hospital care. Meanwhile many thousands of needy families are denied medical card entitlement because of the excessively low income threshold.

“This complex and inefficient funding system has been used by successive Governments to underpin the grossly inequitable two-tier public-private system.

"If Health Minister Harney is sincere in her claim to support equality in health insurance why has she not applied the same principle to the health system in general?

“The only system that can guarantee both maximum equity and true efficiency is a system of universal healthcare provision, free at the point of delivery and publicly funded. This would be real 'community rating' where tax raised based on ability to pay would be used to provide healthcare to all based on need alone.

"Sinn Féin has repeatedly called for the establishment of a Health Funding Commission to assess all the funding, public and private, spent on healthcare and to plan the transition to a universal public healthcare system. Such a change in Government health policy is needed now more than ever." ENDS                             

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